tuesday 23rd february, 7.30-8.30pm, on bbc parliament tv
question for short debate: middle east (initiated by lord grade)
bishop of worcester
Lord Grade of Yarmouth (Con):
… The vicious approach to debate, or rather to the stifling of debate, taken by some—for example, those who violently disrupted an Israeli speaker at King’s College, London, last month—does nothing to foster greater understanding of the Middle East in the UK; quite the contrary.
… The BDS movement continually smears the only democratic state in the region by comparing Israel to the apartheid South African regime of yesteryear. This is as intellectually bankrupt as it is dishonest
Parliament is at the heart of the academic issue. There is a blatant double standard here, which we as legislators have not addressed. There is evidence that we permit the funding of some educational departments by authoritarian states with abhorrent track records on human rights and free expression, yet UK institutions are somehow at the forefront of calls to ban Israeli academics and students on the basis of their nationality and, probably, their religion. The connection between the funding of universities by vehemently anti-Israel regimes, the constraining of free expression and referenda to ban Israelis must be exposed. While we in this place advocate free expression and a two-state solution, elsewhere, we permit the clandestine manipulation of research and teaching on the Middle East to the opposite effect.
…In science and technology, one of the UK’s leading country priorities is Israel.
… UK-Israel partnerships are currently producing world-leading innovations in nanotechnology, agriscience, neuroscience and many other specialist subjects.
In the real commercial world, away from some of the bigoted posturing of academe, trade between Israel and Britain is supporting much-needed manufacturing jobs here at home.
… Fostering connections between Palestinians and Israelis and between Britain and Israel is laying fertile ground from which peace may one day grow. … Most important of all, in my view, in the search for peace in the Middle East are the many unreported collaborations where Jews and Arabs are working together on the ground.
… in order for us to create a society where co-existence can truly thrive, we need to focus on those who will be the future leaders: the children. How can Israelis and Arabs find common ground if they cannot talk to each other? In Israel, Jewish and Arab children attend separate schools, which creates space for fear, stereotypes and inequalities to grow. These children, who might even be neighbours, grow up in two parallel worlds that rarely interact.”Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (LD):
“… We also went to Ramallah to lunch with leading Palestinians. I must say that our meeting with them was profoundly disappointing, to the extent that they ended by blaming the British for the lack of a Palestinian state, ignoring completely the fact that prior to 1967 it was well within the powers of Jordan and Egypt, who respectively controlled the West Bank and Gaza, to have created a state of Palestine when there were no Israeli settlers in those areas.
… We received a frightening presentation on the radicalisation of Palestinian youth in schools and in sport. It must say something when Palestinian sporting events are named after so-called martyrs who killed Israelis. … Sderot and the moshav Netiv HaAsara, right on the border with Gaza. The people there live in and out of bomb shelters, which has saved lives but has caused great trauma particularly for the kids, who know of no life without shelters and safe rooms at home and in school.”Baroness Deech (CB):
“… There is disproportionate coverage of Israel, and nothing is ever reported about the Palestinians’ way of life or their diaspora, save for victimhood. Opinion is disguised as news—for example, Tim Willcox of the BBC, at a Charlie Hebdo rally, saying to a Jewish demonstrator:
“Many critics of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well”.
There is a lack of context; there has never been an East Jerusalem, except during the Jordanian occupation period of 1948-67. There is selective omission—for example, the headlines proclaiming that a Palestinian has been killed, when in fact he was brought down after murdering Israeli civilians in the street.
… I hope that the Minister will announce an inquiry into the foreign funding of our universities and that university donations are to be made public.”Lord Patten (Con):
“… as a Roman Catholic. There are a lot of my lot in Jerusalem and I want them to stay there. I am extremely grateful to the Government of Israel for protecting them and for making it possible for Roman Catholics and other Christians to be in Jerusalem and not to be cleansed and cleared out, as they have been in so many other parts of the Middle East.”Lord Risby (Con):
“… There have been horrific attacks on Israeli citizens and counter-attacks by Israeli armed forces.”Lord Livermore (Lab):
“… we see now a disturbing resurgence of anti-Zionism that is bordering on the anti-Semitic, particularly, I regret to say, in sections of the left in British politics.
… those with uglier motivations to build support for grotesque analogies between Israel and apartheid South Africa or even Nazi Germany.
… We see senior figures praising as friends those who are committed to the violent destruction of the Jewish homeland
… it is the duty of progressives to stop the slide from opposition to specific policies of Israel towards opposition to the very existence of Israel. I want us to make the progressive case for a country where women have the right to vote, dress as they wish and say what they wish in a region where, too often, they are segregated and subjugated; for a country that is committed to the free practice of religion for all in a region where religious minorities are frequently suppressed and persecuted; for a country where gay people are not discriminated against, tortured, detained or executed, as they are almost everywhere else in the region; and for a country with a free press, freedom of expression, an independent judiciary and strong trade unions, all lacking in almost all neighbouring countries.
… there is nothing progressive about seeking to extinguish a beacon of democracy, modernity and pluralism in the Middle East.”Lord Bew (CB):
“… the Government cannot be complicit in the acceptance of a version of the history and conflict of the Middle East that stigmatises one side only.”Lord Beecham (Lab):
“… It occurred to me that, sadly, it was virtually impossible to conceive of any other country in the region for which a human rights award ceremony could be held.
… I have asked more than one advocate of BDS whether they were aware that the judge who presided over the trial of a former president of Israel was an Israeli Arab, and whether they could conceive of a Jewish judge performing a similar role in any of Israel’s neighbours.”Lord Sacks (CB)
“… Democracy is not achieved merely by giving everyone the vote. Freedom is not achieved merely by removing a tyrant. They require a sustained effort of education and a balanced supply of information.
… Democratic freedom is sustained by media that take it as their task to present all sides of a complex issue, and by universities that understand the importance of academic freedom, which means giving a respectful hearing to views different from your own.
… Some universities have allowed students effectively to ban the presentation of views with which they disagree.
… dividing the world into the good guys and the demons, and concluding that all you have to do to solve a problem is to first silence, then eliminate, the bad guys. Often in the past they were called the Jews. Today, they are called the State of Israel.”Lord Rotherwick (Con):
“… massacres of, Jews occurred in 1921 and 1929. In 1936, during the Great Arab Revolt, thousands of Jews were attacked and killed; some fled the area.
… In 2002, during the second intifada, around 52 Israelis were killed or wounded each week by Palestinian terrorism. After the completion of the security barrier, less than one Israeli was killed or injured a week. Even this figure would not be accepted in the UK.
… It seems to me, as a Christian, that the Palestinians have no intention of committing to any agreement unless they can have total control of all of Israel.”The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Maude of Horsham) (Con):
… Of course there will need to be agreed land swaps; of course Jerusalem will need to be a shared capital of both states, with a just and agreed settlement for refugees.”
(transcript at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/160223-0…)
(if you missed it, available from 0:00:10 to 0:59:00: at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b071x8q3/house-of-lords-23022016#pl…)