I’m getting bored of this myself. Seriously, I am. By this stage, I’m really only cataloguing everything so that one day the centre-left can rebuild – think of these article as breadcrumbs back to sanity then – or failing that, as a document to where the Left finally killed itself in Britain for all time.
Anyhow, another day, another reason to be disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn. Even though I was never really a fan in the first place. The setting? The House of Commons. The occasion? Weekly PMQs. I know, I know, questions to the prime minister of a Wednesday doesn’t swing votes in North Warwickshire, the Corbynites shout (but appreciation of Maoism and a desire not to dis Hezbollah is huge in the Midlands these days, on the other hand). Why would I even go there? I will riposte that this one was particularly bad – and thus worth noting for all time.
Cameron dodged every question by continually coming back to internal Labour troubles. This was a ripe field, so there was plenty of room to run here. In a pure debating sense, this wasn’t Jeremy’s fault – what I mean by that is that whatever blame you wish to apportion to Corbyn for this past week’s shenanigans, I’m simply saying that Corbyn the man at the dispatch box was put at an automatic disadvantage, thus one should consider this when looking at the PMQs session in isolation. But even giving him some points to start with for this handicap, Jeremy was dire.
I could go into detail, however there is one exchange that summarises the whole thing perfectly. It has also been immoritalised in the Guardian, but I shall repeat it here for you now. Cameron says of Corbyn: “He referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends”, now he needs to withdraw those remarks.” The prime minister did this all session, by the way, and now that I think about it, at most PMQs for the last who knows how long now. He turned the whole thing around so that it became an Opposition Leader’s Questions by the leader of the government.
And what was Jeremy’s response? Oh God, hide behind the sofa now, anyone who cares about centre-left politics in this country:
“I’ve made it very clear Labour is an anti-racism party and no place for anti-Semitism.”
Just as an aside, I find the whole Hamas worship thing within Corbyn’s inner-circle incredibly awful. You don’t need to be anti-Palestinian to dislike Hamas; in fact, a great deal of Palestinians have a negative viewpoint of the organisation. Why does Jeremy feel so strong a need to avoid criticising them even when it’s a really good idea to do so?
The worst thing about the session – and what makes me really angry about it as opposed to merely resigned to it – is that Cameron was given a free hand to bat Sadiq Khan around the park, trying as hard as possible to bring Sadiq into the whole Hamas lovin’ mess and finding no real resistance, apart from Jeremy’s insincere remarks about Labour being no place for racists. The whole thing was horrifying. I’m starting to think I should just stop watching PMQs for a while.
Are Hamas not the democratically elected party in Palestine, and to criticise Hamas would be to criticise the majority of voters in Palestine who were driven to vote for Hamas due to the apartheid rule they live under. Hamas are not strictly a terrorist organisation either, their military arm is, but their leader has made it clear that Hamas objectives are not the expulsion of Jews but a return to the 67′ borders. It is easy to hide behind the term terrorist, doctored through American, Israeli propaganda but the truth is the story is far more complex and maybe Jeremy Corbyn is aware of this.
Hamas took over Gaza by force, toppling the PLO/Fatah there. In the West Bank they are strong but not really in power, depending on how you view the situation. Corbyn is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He wants to remain on good terms with Hamas much as he does with many organisations, not necessarily because he likes them. But some of these organisations, like Hamas, aren’t going to help his political career.
It’s a sad situation – one of my greatest life mentors and someone who looked after me from a baby was an Jewish holocaust survivor who lost her entire family in concentration camps. She taught me about civil respect, equality and humanity and hugely opposed the way Palestinians have been treated. How have we allowed ourselves to be backed into a corner where our leading politicians cannot oppose human rights abuses without being coined a terrorist sympathiser. Allowing for the situation that Corbyn finds himself in because of course Hamas have committed gross human rights violations. I presume Corbyn won’t speak out about Hamas because of the growing educated Muslim and liberal community in the UK who will be his main core of voters. I don’t agree with his stance but I can understand it. We are caught in a cycle of simplistic politics where newspaper don’t report facts and allow a reader to come to his own conclusion. The media have already decided what they want their reader to believe. I have travelled to some horrendously sad place including Iraq and Afghanistan but Travelling to Gaza in 2015 after the conflict i was absolutely mortified by what I witness and the complete hopelessness of a entire race of people.
I’m pretty sure in 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian election and were illegally overthrown by Fatah.
Liza Jones says
You saw only what Hamas wanted you to see. You were on the set of a Pallywood production. You are parroting the propaganda that Gaza is an open air concentration camp. The truth is very different. Stop perpetuating the notion that Gaza is under seige. It most certainly is restricted as to what enters and exits, but the Gaza Mall and a little boutique by the name of “Hitler” tell the story of a fairly healthy economy. The obesity stats corroborate the fact that Gazans are well fed. You ought to be aware that the goal of Palestinians is to destroy Israel. Only blind European and US liberals are still fooled into believing that Palestinians actually want a two-state solution.
Rob Reed says
I spoke last night to a labour campaigner – who said yes labour might have an issue with anti Semitism but we are good on the NHS, Schools, Austerity, poverty and students.
That almost made me want to vomit or actually cry.
Diane Abbott mentioned on Marr this is just a smear and mood music, while we saw yesterday polls showing Jews are genuinely frightened of labour and feel less safe then at any time post WW2.
At times like this you need to use your vote carefully and let history be a teacher.
Alan Ray-Jones says
Hamas have done bad things but they have been called terrorists for so long by governments and the media that I doubt if we are able to judge them. They are the only patriotic organised defence force that the Palestinians have, and have taken a lot of knocks. Jeremy is more thoughtful than Cameron and doesn’t indulge in smear-mongering, so as someone who wants to help bring peace and a fair settlement to Israel/Palestine he is in a difficult situation. Cameron doesn’t have that problem.
David TRAYNIER says
The vitriol levelled at Corbyn for referring to Hamas representatives at, I believe, a debate in Westminster as ‘friends’ is rather overshadowed by Cameron’s (and Blair’s) consistent, material support for:
1. The theocratic, islamist, terrorism-exporting tyranny of Saudi Arabia – a state which beheads, blinds, crucifies, and paralyses gays and ‘sorcerers’. Saudi Arabia is removes the ‘so-called’ from ‘so-called Islamic state’.
2. The genocidal expansion of Israel, in consistent denial of international law since 1967 and the welfare of its own population who used a shields and weapons in order to enrich an Israeli/US elite.
Dr A Midgley says
And the political commentary prefers the PM to not answer questions, enjoying the playground tactic more than observation and comment on the running of the country.