Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953 ended the tensions between the countries and halted the campaign against Soviet Jews. Diplomatic relations were restored in July, but there was no return to the golden age of 1947-49, and the war of June 1967, in which Russia supported Egypt and its Arab allies, led to a second break in diplomatic relations. They were only restored in 1991, just a few months before the demise of the USSR.
Archive for the ‘Colonialism’ Category
Most people interested in the subject know that the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognise Israel.
Indeed it was something my mother told me about.
But one suspects that few know much about the details.
Michel Réal in the latest Le Monde Diplomatique offers an account worth reading which appears in the English language edition, The forgotten alliance.
“The establishment of Israel owes much to the Soviet Union and the wide range of support — diplomatic, demographic and military — it offered the young state.”
“The Communist movement was historically opposed to the Zionist project, but Ben Gurion made it clear that the new state would not hinder Soviet interests. Moscow still withheld its support until 1946.
The turning point was in May 1947 when Britain, which had held the League of Nations mandate over Palestine since 1922, decided to transfer the case to the recently established United Nations in order to resolve the territory’s future (2). Andrei Gromyko, the young Soviet deputy foreign minister, said that the USSR was willing to support the division of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, if the one-state solution proved unworkable.”
From then until 1949, Israel enjoyed the political, military and demographic support of Stalin’s Russia, even though Stalin was at that time repressing Russian Jews, mostly because of a struggle for power at the top of the party-state. The USSR was central to the adoption of the UN plan to partition Palestine on 29 November 1947. Besides its own vote, it also delivered those of its satellites, with the (still unexplained) exception of Yugoslavia. It also provided Israel with the resources it needed most — people and arms.
In this first phase, from 1941 to 1951, Israel received support from the USSR that went beyond its expectations — without having to sacrifice the backing of western nations, especially the US.
subsequent episodes caused discord and led to Russo-Israeli diplomatic relations being severed in February 1953. First there was the USSR’s complete ban on Jewish immigration from eastern Europe, where anti-Semitic activity was widespread. Then there was the Prague trial in November 1952: after the rupture between Stalin and Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1948, the leaderships of the “people’s democracies” of eastern Europe were purged. In Czechoslovakia, the general secretary of the Communist Party, Rudolf Slánský, was arrested in 1951 and accused of an “imperialist-Zionist” plot. At the show trial, 11 of the 14 accused were explicitly designated as Jews.
Then there was the “doctors’ plot” of 1953…..
Those looking at the comments here may have noticed a virulent set of exchanges (which would already fill a small book) between Tony Greenstein, Paul Bogdanor and Michael Ezra and on the relationship between Zionism and the Nazis.
One of the main issues is claims about ‘collaboration’ between Zionists and the National Socialist regime and its allies.
Paul and Michael are unrelenting in their hostility to “Marxism-Leninism”. For reasons of their own, having little to do with reality, they claim Tony Greenstein is a supporter of this ideology.
Perhaps they might care to read and comment on Michel Réal’s article about how the real ‘Marxist-Leninists” backed Israel.
Counterpunch’s Solution to ISIS Genociders.
Crazy guys, crazy politics, Counterpunch, America’s best-loved satirical magazine has a solution to ISIS!
“Start by recognizing where ISIS came from.”
We’ll skip this portentous, ponderous, phrases that follow and go straight to the good bits.
This is the programme of Swanson, or What is to Be Done.
1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation.
Indeed, this is certainly the Number One priority.
2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there.
I am beginning to wonder who is doing this apologising but I let this go for the moment.
3. Begin making restitution by delivering aid (not “military aid” but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq.
4. Apologize for role in war in Syria.
5. Begin making restitution by delivering actual aid to Syria.
Though again, one asks, who is apologising for war in Syria? Other names, such as Assad might possibly spring to mind.
6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)
Abolish weapons! Or, as the author’s book title goes, “War No More”.
But the best follows.
7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.
8. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies — at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
Now this is some original blue-skies thinking!
9. End economic sanctions.
10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.
11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.
12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.
I think ISIS are already pretty good at Internet access and Cameras!
13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.
14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.
15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.
One might ask if ISIS genociders might also be hauled before this court.
But Counterpunch seems determined to pursue other paths.
As another author, Deb Reich, in this vintage edition, says,
Once upon a time, as a few inventive minds labored, most folks said humans cannot fly and are not meant to fly. Then came the airplane. Once upon a time, most folks said the Earth was flat. Then came better instrumentation and braver exploration and, lo and behold, the earth wasn’t flat anymore.
Will we ordinary people, in large enough numbers, awaken in time? Enter, via the GPS of our imagination, the portal to the post-enemies era? Drag with us, kicking and screaming, our makers of policy and our shapers of opinion, our legislators and our law enforcement agencies, over the threshold into the grand new landscape unfolding before us? Stay tuned.
Stay tuned indeed!
Syrian Victims of Giant US Conspiracy says Stop the War Coalition.
By Jason Ditz, antiwar.com
The 40,000 Yazidis stranded on the mountain. That was the pretext for US military intervention in Iraq, as set out by President Obama last Thursday. The air war was commenced, and officials were talking up sending ground forces for “rescue” operations as recently as this afternoon….
The administration just seems grateful that they got an excuse to start a war they’ve been chomping at the bit for, and even if the excuse didn’t exactly pan out, they’ll quickly find another.
Obama authorises ” targeted air strikes” “to prevent a potential act of genocide” in Iraq: Where does the left stand?
Islamists Will Face US Air-Strikes.
Confronted with the threat of mass murder in Iraq by the genociders of the Islamic State (ISIL) the American President, Obama, has issued this statement.
Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.
First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it. In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.
To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city. We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad. We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.
Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain. As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis. And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect. Countless Iraqis have been displaced. And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.
In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives. And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs. They’re without food, they’re without water. People are starving. And children are dying of thirst. Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide. So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice: descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.
I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now. When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.
The Stop the War Coalition has published this a couple of days ago (from the most recent Labour Briefing)
Sami Ramadani states,
We should support secular-democratic efforts to rebuild a measure of peaceful co-existence between the sects, religions, ethnicities and nationalities of Iraq and the Middle East. Keeping quiet about ISIS throat-cutters and their assorted allies, just because we oppose the Maliki regime’s policies, is a recipe for disaster.
Having pillaged large parts of Syria and terrorised its religious and ethnic minorities, as well as its women, they are now marching towards Baghdad, joined by Saddamist officers and Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi zealots. This will lead to a sectarian bloodbath.
ISIS will not flinch from burning Baghdad’s remaining books and removing its girls from schools. They want to punish millions of “idolatry” Shia and crucify its remaining “Nassara” Christians. They were funded, armed and trained by the US and its allies: Turkey and the amoral sheiks and princes of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Israel helped them by bombing raids on Syria and treating their wounded in Israeli hospitals before re-arming them to go back to Syria to escalate the carnage.
We need to face the fact that popular activity in west and north west Iraq, just like in Syria, has been effectively highjacked by sectarian and racist forces. I cannot possibly remain silent about movements, no matter how popular, that are led by racist, sectarian and nihilist forces. In Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah, they have capitalised on popular demands and are now dominant.
Ramadani is critical of the Iraqi government, led by Maliki, which he describes as sectarian and brutal,
What Iraq needs, and sadly lacks today, is strong secular, democratic organisations that can unite the people to overthrow the occupation-built sectarian institutions, and rid Iraq of US intervention and that of all regional powers. This cannot be achieved by replacing Maliki’s corrupt regime with a regime led by the above organisations. Maliki is a passing phase, but, if the barbarians win, they will destroy what is left of Iraqi society, following its devastation by the US-led occupation.
It is for the Iraqi people to remove Maliki and not for the US and its proxies to impose a more pliant ruler. This is the devastation that evolved in Syria and we must not ignore its probable evolution in Iraq. For the winners will be the oil companies, arms manufacturers, and sectarian war lords plunging the entire Middle East into a blood bath.”
The evidence is that Baghdad is ruled by a sectarian government.
As Patrick Cockbrun states in the latest London Review of Books,
Iraq’s Shia leaders haven’t grappled with the fact that their domination over the Iraqi state, brought about by the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, is finished, and only a Shia rump is left. It ended because of their own incompetence and corruption and because the Sunni uprising in Syria in 2011 destabilised the sectarian balance of power in Iraq.
He indicates that the genociders have powerful backing from outside Iraq and Syria,
The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. This doesn’t mean the jihadis didn’t have strong indigenous roots, but their rise was crucially supported by outside Sunni powers. The Saudi and Qatari aid was primarily financial, usually through private donations, which Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, says were central to the Isis takeover of Sunni provinces in northern Iraq: ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.’
If a “a new and terrifying state has been born.” perhaps it will die of its internal contradictions.
It may well be that US intervention will not solve anything.
Unfortunately the Christians, Yezidi and Shia of Iraq cannot wait or pose these questions.
They need help now.
Can we stand by, criticise Obama, and let nothing be done to come to their aid?
Some of us would accept help from anyone if we were in the plight of the potential victims of the Islamist genociders.
France prepared to give military support for action in Iraq against the Islamic State, without giving details of what this entails. Libération.
Why are the Yazidis threatened with genocide?
They are not “people of the Book”:
“Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who follow an ancient religion blending elements of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and local folk beliefs. Several hundred thousand followers live in Sinjar and Sheikhan, two regions just west and east of Mosul.
Smaller communities of Yazidis live in Syria, Armenia and Germany.
At their unique conical temples, they worship a peacock deity called Melek Taus and hold elaborate ceremonies that involve fire and water.
“Yezidism is a syncretic religion that takes from a variety of different traditions, some Zoroastrianism, Islamic and a little bit of animism,” said Austin Long, professor of international affairs at Columbia University in New York. “It’s a mixed religion with a long-standing history in Iraq. Most are Kurds, ethnically.”
Through the centuries, Yazidis have often been persecuted by Muslims who say the faith is forbidden. In 2007, hundreds of Yazidis in Sinjar died in a series of massive explosions orchestrated against them by al-Qaida in Iraq — the precursor of the Islamic State.” from here.
“It’s a good atmosphere, you know? You’re not living under oppression. You’re not living under rule.” says British Jihadist.
Thousands of Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority’s biggest town in Iraq.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh in Nineveh province overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
An international Christian organisation said at least a quarter of Iraq’s Christians were leaving Qaraqosh and other surrounding towns.
IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria to create an Islamic caliphate.
Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, have been fighting the Sunni militants’ advance in the north for weeks.
In a separate development, the United Nations says it has rescued some of the thousands of people trapped by IS militants in mountains near the town of Sinjar.
Up to 50,000 members of the Yazidi religious minority fled there after IS overran Sinjar at the weekend.
More on the BBC site.
The French journal L’Express carries this report, Irak: 100 000 chrétiens en fuite, les djihadistes enlèvent les croix des églises.
100, 000 Christians flee as Jihadists take Church crosses down.
40,000 Iraqis stranded on Sinjar mountain after Islamic State death threats
Tens of thousands of members of Iraqi religious minority groups are dying of heat and thirst on Mount Sinjar, human rights groups say, after death threats from Islamic State – formerly Isis.
Tens of thousands of members of Iraqi religious minority groups driven from their homes for fear of the jihadist group Islamic State are dying of thirst and heat on a desert mountainside in the north of the country, according to the United Nations and human rights groups.
Some 40 children have already died from the heat and dehydration, the UN children’s organisation Unicef says, while upwards of 40,000 more are sheltering in the bare mountains, without food or water or access to supplies. It says 25,000 children may be stranded.
Yesterday’s Newsnight broadcast a video of a British man fighting for ISIS (The Islamic State’s Syrian wing) next to a corpse.
Their recruitment video (which you can see in all its obscenity here) of this gang features the following.
..men who claim to be from all over the world including Britain, Belgium, Morocco, Finland and Indonesia. They talk about how happy they are to be in a Muslim society and encourage others to join them.
It’s a good atmosphere, you know? You’re not living under oppression. You’re not living under rule,” Abu Abdullah Al-Habashi said, speaking in a British accent. “As Muslims, that’s what we want and that’s what we need. We don’t need any democracy, we don’t need any communism, we don’t need anything like that.”
The news above illustrates what this “atmosphere” means for thousands of civilians.
Let us have no more of these apologies for the British volunteers going to support these genociders (21st July 2014),
Muslim leaders in the UK have warned against laws that automatically brand British fighters in Syria as terrorists.
It comes as Home Secretary Theresa May launches a campaign today to discourage young men from going to fight in Syria and Iraq. A short film will focus on the distress it can cause their families.
But some in the Muslim community have told Sky News the Government’s legal stance on fighting abroad could “increase the risk” to the UK.
Abdullah al Andalusi, a senior researcher at the Muslim Debate Initiative, said: “It’s hypocritical of the UK Government to expect Muslims not to go, if they feel they want to fight in a just war.
“Bertrand Russell, George Orwell – they went to the Spanish civil war, people were going to fight Gaddafi in Libya and that was all fine.
“So I worry that the British Government should dictate to us what is fine and what is not fine about where to go, when the situations could be arguably very similar in all those places.”
Warsi resigns (1)
Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has resigned from the government, saying its policy on the crisis in Gaza is “morally indefensible”.
She wrote on her Twitter feed that she was leaving with “deep regret”.
Lady Warsi, who was previously chairman of the Conservative Party, became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron took office in 2010.
She grew up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and worked as a solicitor before entering politics.
Lady Warsi was demoted from the cabinet to a middle-ranking Foreign Office post in 2012. She was made minister for faith and communities at the same time.
She wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.”
Lady Warsi’s resignation letter says it is “morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term effect on our reputation internationally and domestically”.
She adds that the decision “has not been easy” but there is “great unease” within the Foreign Office over “the way recent decisions are being made”.
The Huffington Post reports,
Now that she has quit the government, the Tory peer wants to “speak more freely” on this issue and her first demand after handing in her resignation letter is for the UK to introduce an arms embargo. “It appalls me that the British government continues to allow the sale of weapons to a country, Israel, that has killed almost 2,000 people, including hundreds of kids, in the past four weeks alone. The arms exports to Israel must stop.”
Unusually this has been reported, straight away, on the French media, “Démission d’une secrétaire d’Etat britannique en désaccord avec la politique du pays sur Gaza” Libération.
And the German, “Protest gegen Gaza-Politik: Britische Außenstaatssekretärin Warsi tritt zurück” Der Spiegel.
This is the right decision and one can only agree with her statement.
Warsi has also made this admirable reflection (November 2013),
Warsi: Christian minorities ‘endangered’ in Middle East
Baroness Warsi said Christians were in danger of being driven out of countries, such as Syria and Iraq, where the religion first took root.
Syria’s civil war and the instability in Iraq has seen many leave.
Baroness Warsi said politicians had a duty to speak out against persecution and appeal for religious tolerance
But before anybody goes overboard in admiration for the unelected Warsi this should be remembered,
“Warsi was the unsuccessful Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury at the 2005 general election, becoming the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservatives. During the election campaign she was criticised for election literature which was described as “homophobic” by the gay equality group Stonewall.” Wikipedia.
Unable to get elected this happened:
“On 2 July 2007, Warsi was appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion. To take up the post, she was created a life peer as Baroness Warsi, of Dewsbury in the County of West Yorkshire, on 11 October 2007 and was introduced in the House of Lords on 15 October 2007. On joining the House of Lords, she became its youngest member.”
Then there is this (National Secular Society),
Baroness Warsi’s partnership with the OIC means it is only a matter of time before we are completely silenced in the name of religious freedom, argues Anne Marie Waters.
Baroness Warsi, our unelected “Minister for Faith”, in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington on Friday, stated that the UK is “committed to working with the United Nations Human Rights Council to implement Resolution 16/18.”
We are? I can’t remember agreeing to this – can you?
She then went on to make this hilarious statement: “The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also remains a key partner in our quest to promote religious freedom.”
I genuinely don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
It is difficult to know where to begin with this, so I’ll start with Resolution 16/18 – a proposal which received the support of the United States back in 2011. Hillary Clinton, who could well be the next US President, set up a meeting in Washington D.C. that year. The aim of this get-together was to explore ways to implement the provisions of Resolution 16/18 around the world.
Resolution 16/18 calls upon UN member states to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.” It was initially introduced in March 2011 at the UN Human Rights Council by the OIC. This coterie, dominated by Islamist states, had made several previous attempts to have a resolution passed which aimed to criminalise “defamation of religions” but had failed. This time, due to some clever re-wording, the tactic worked and non-binding resolution was agreed.
Following this, the Istanbul Process was created in July 2011. This meeting was attended by Hillary Clinton who praised the US and the EU for agreeing the resolution at the Human Rights Council. The conference had been convened by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the OIC. This is a man who frequently speaks out against Islamophobia, and calls for a “proper understanding of Islam“.
The Istanbul Process continues and last met in Geneva in June 2013.
Baroness Warsi’s commitment (on behalf of the UK) to work with the OIC to implement Resolution 16/18 seems to be grounded in the idea that the OIC are equally committed to religious freedom. In making such claims, Warsi shows herself to be either a) completely stupid, b) a damn liar, or c) both.
So to summarise; Sayeeda Warsi, a woman who failed to secure an elected place in Parliament in 2005, now enjoys a seat at the Cabinet table despite the fact that she remains unelected. She has used this position to commit the UK to assisting in the implementation of a resolution which will effectively criminalise anyone who dares to tell the truth about what happens in the name of Islam (this would be “negative stereotyping” you see). She has no mandate for this, and she wouldn’t have if the people were ever asked our opinion on the matter.
And if anybody on the left doubts where she stands there is this (November 2013),
Faith is being put back at the “heart of government,” as it was under Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, a minister will say today.
The Coalition is one of the “most pro-faith governments in the West,” Baroness Warsi, the Minister for Faith, will say. “More often than not, people who do God do good.”
Churchill and Thatcher would have welcomed the Coalition’s promise to protect the right of town halls to hold prayers and the creation of more faith schools under Michael Gove’s Free Schools programme, she will say.
Public policy was “secularised” under the previous, Labour government, Lady Warsi will tell an audience at the Churchill Archives at the University of Cambridge.
But Churchill saw totalitarian regimes as “godless” while Thatcher regarded politics as second to Christianity in defining society, she will say.
“We see flickers of Churchill’s flame and echoes of Thatcher’s sermons in all we do,” she will say. “But this was never inevitable. When we came back into power in 2010, I felt that some of the reverence for religion had disappeared from politics. I found that the last government didn’t just refuse to ‘do God’ – they didn’t get God either.”
The Coalition ruled out a ban on the full-face veil out of respect for religious liberty, she will say, also citing the welcome it gave to a ruling which saw Nadia Eweida win the right to wear a small crucifix at work for British Airways.
Lady Warsi, a former chairman of the Conservative Party, will say that religious groups must be allowed to provide public services without the state being “suspicious of their motives”.
“I know that Mrs Thatcher would have approved of devolving power to faith communities,” Baroness Warsi will say.
“As she once said: ‘I wonder whether the State services would have done as much for the man who fell among thieves as the Good Samaritan did for him?’ ”
Cynics (hat-tip DO), may also recall this (2012),
And Lo and Behold!
Baroness Warsi’s resignation has more to do with the reshuffle than it does with Gaza
Baroness Warsi has just resigned from the Tory front bench over the Government’s policy towards Gaza. At least that’s the official line. In truth Baroness Warsi has resigned over the government’s policy towards Baroness Warsi.
It’s been an open secret in Westminster that Warsi has been angered since her demotion from Tory party chair. “She’s going to do a Clare Short,” one Tory MP told me a few months ago.
Well, she has done a Clare Short, ostensibly resigning over an issue of foreign policy.
As the first Muslim Cabinet minister Warsi adopted some brave stances on a number of controversial issues – such as proposals to ban veils – and had spoken out about wider Islamophobia. Neither stance saved her from abuse and threats of violence from extremist elements in the Muslim community.
But the reality is Warsi was an ineffective party chair, and an unpopular member of the Government. “She was proof of why most ministers – from whatever party – should always come from the elected House of Commons, rather than being parachuted in via the Lords. She really didn’t understand the grass roots at all,” said one Tory MP on news of her resignation.
The loss of Baroness Warsi is a blow to David Cameron’s attempts to give his government a more diverse face. But her resignation is more to do with events in last month’s reshuffle than events in Gaza.
(1) “Dear Prime Minister
For some weeks, in meeting and discussion, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and our response to it.
My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.
Particularly as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, The International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice. In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.
This decision has not been easy. It has been a privilege to serve for 3 years in your Shadow Cabinet and over 4 years in your Cabinet. Introducing you in Blackpool in 2005 as you made your bid for leadership I had the pleasure of being there at the start of the journey and it would have been rewarding to have been there til the end.
The last decade has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best in the Conservative Party and indeed in Government. William Hague was probably one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen and has been inspirational. He dismantled foreign policy making by sofa government and restored decision making and dignity to the Foreign Office. There is however great unease across the Foreign Office, amongst both Minister and senior officials, in the way recent decisions are being made.
Eric Pickles has supported me tirelessly in our work on combating hate crime. Challenging anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia and the pioneering work of celebration faith in the public sphere. This new found confidence in Government has allowed me to take the very public International lead on religious freedom, specifically on the ever growing crisis of the persecution of Christians. However, early evidence from the Home Office and others shows that the fallout of the current conflict and the potential for the crisis in Gaza and our response to it becoming a basis for radicalisation could have consequences for us for years to come.
From both Eric and William I learnt the art of reconciling passion and idealism with pragmatism and realism, but I always said that long after life in politics I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of that.
It is therefore with regret that I am writing to resign.
You will continue to have my personal support as leader of the Conservative party as you continue to ensure that our Party evolves to meet the challenges we face in Britain today and ensure that the Party is relevant and responsive to all communities that make up today’s Britain.
More updating (prompted by reading below).
Sayeeda Warsi’s Tory colleagues are really, really sad that she has quit. A Tory source tells Guido:
“Warsi’s resignation is classic Warsi. Attacks her own team, pure grandstanding, and shows that she is a quitter. Her resignation does nothing to help the innocent civilians on both sides who are suffering. She had a much better chance of helping support the ceasefire if she had stayed inside Government. But instead she has thrown in the towel.”