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Baroness Warsi Resigns over Gaza: Some Thoughts.

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Baroness Warsi resigns letter

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.”

‘Great unease’

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”.

BBC.

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

Christianity is at risk of extinction in some parts of the world due to growing persecution of minority communities, a minister has warned.

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),

Warsi demoted in cabinet reshuffle

Update.

And Lo and Behold!

Baroness Warsi’s resignation has more to do with the reshuffle than it does with Gaza

Dan Hodges,

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.

Yours sincerely

Sayeeda

More updating (prompted by reading below).

So Long, Farewell, Sayeeda Says Goodbye

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.”

4 Responses

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  1. Although i am pro-Palestine i think Warsi is a despicable character who has been complicit in disgraceful Tory policies domestically and abroad some of which have strengthened Israel’s abhorrent regime. She has also promoted disgusting unjust Austerity politics which has robbed the poor of benefits and made the rich more rich. Her decision to resign will make no actual difference to the Palestine plight. If anything she could have stayed in the role and spoken against Israel policies to embarass the Government. As always she is and has been part of the problem.

    Ding Kavid

    August 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm

  2. There are also reports of “growing tensions” that “existed between senior Cabinet ministers and Lady Warsi in the months ahead of her resignation.”

    That is, before the Gaza crisis.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/gaza/11012935/George-Osborne-Baroness-Warsi-resignation-over-Gaza-disappointing-and-unnecessary.html

    Andrew Coates

    August 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

  3. Baroness Warsi was over-promoted, incapable and incompetent
    246 comments 5 August 2014 11:57Douglas Murray

    Farewell then Sayeeda, Baroness Warsi. The most over-promoted, incapable and incompetent minister of recent times has finally done the nation one service and resigned. This morning she announced on Twitter that she can ‘no longer support government policy on Gaza.’ That would be government policy that now includes reviewing all arms export licenses to Israel? Not strong enough for Sayeeda, it would seem.

    It was not hard to see this coming. Not just because Warsi’s Twitter activity in recent weeks has mainly consisted of pumping out support for Hamas-run Gaza and berating supporters of Israel for saying things she disagrees with, but also because she has shown a career-long sympathy for Hamas and other Islamic radicals.

    In 2006, on an ‘Any Questions’ on BBC Radio 4, Warsi welcomed the election of Hamas in Gaza. This was after the group had killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bomb attacks. Apparently unable to imagine that Hamas governing Gaza might be a problem, she said:

    ‘I think what’s happened in the Middle East with the election of Hamas is actually an opportunity and I think that’s the way we’ve got to see it. When groups that practice violence are suddenly propelled into power through a democratic process they get responsibility and responsibility can be a tremendously taming factor.’

    Well, how wrong she was. Hamas used the opportunity of their poll ‘mandate’ to kill their Palestinian Fatah opponents in Gaza, stage a military coup and never hold another election. They then spent the money sent from abroad in aid of the Palestinian people to arm themselves with weapons to fire at Israel and to construct tunnel complexes to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel on Jewish holy days.

    But Warsi’s ‘soft’ line on Hamas was just part of the broader picture. As the Times newspaper reported, back in 2006, in an article for the Asian newspaper Awaaz (written while she was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party) Warsi described the then Labour Government’s anti-terror proposals as ‘enough to tip any normal young man into the realms of a radicalized fanatic.’ And she wrote that ‘if terrorism is the use of violence against civilians, then where does that leave us in Iraq?’ In 2007 I discovered where she thought that left us. During a rather heated and angry Question Time, just after two car bombs had been placed outside a London nightclub on lady’s night, we got onto Iraq. I repeatedly asked Warsi to condemn the killing of British troops in Iraq. She repeatedly refused to do so. I don’t think I’ve ever had more emails from servicemen and women and their families, asking how it could be that a Conservative (then shadow) minister would not condemn the killing of British troops while they were on active service.

    Warsi’s track-record of dubious support goes on. For instance, she expressed support for Kashmiri terrorist groups who she described as engaged in freedom fighting. And all the time she got away with it because she held herself out as the voice of the Muslims, and in particular of the ‘middle ground’. In fact she simply created this image by attacking people who almost anybody from the Muslim communities can attack — Anjem Choudary, al-Muhajiroun etc. But her interests were clearly not in trying to move opinion in a genuinely constructive direction. Increasingly as ‘minister of faith’ she used her position not to tackle the extremists who she should have been tackling but to persuade the UK government that it should make ‘a priority’ of tackling ‘Islamophobia’.

    Her priorities remained skewed. When, earlier this year, she tried to put together a panel at the Foreign Office looking into ‘Religious Freedom’ (fine subject though this is at a time when Christians are being massacred and religiously ‘cleansed’ across two continents) those she invited to join it included the Muslim Brotherhood dauphin Tariq Ramadan.

    Her time in government was filled with disasters. She repeatedly narrowly avoided being sacked. Her car-crashes mostly came over her attempts to develop what was effectively a parallel set of policies to those of the British government of which she was meant to be part. Word was that she had become increasingly angry after various reshuffles in which it became plain that she would never be given a ministry. She doubtless concocted in her mind various conspiracies as to why this might be, but the reason was single and obvious: she did not have the ability.

    Realising that this ambition was to be thwarted, she manoeuvred to turn her position in Cabinet into one which was somehow meant to ‘represent’ Muslims. Purest, as well as dangerous nonsense. Everybody in Cabinet is there to represent everybody in Britain. But Warsi encouraged sectarianism rather than diminishing it. And where she could have used her position to side-line the extremists within Britain’s Muslim communities, she spent more of her time trying to stop people criticising the extremists within Britain’s Muslim communities. She was a notable behind-the-scenes critic of genuine Muslim reformers, in particular.

    Warsi’s time in government set back the fight to detach the extremists from the majority, and repeatedly blurred the lines around extremism. She was promoted by David Cameron because of her sex and religious identity. Her fast-tracking into the Lords, Shadow Cabinet and then the Cabinet was identity politics at its most cynical and — in the end — counterproductive. David Cameron wanted to promote a Muslim woman, grabbed the first one he could see, and promoted her. She turned out to be a bad one. The only good thing is that, were David Cameron at all tempted to repeat this reach-out today he would find that there are actually talented, capable and inspiring minority ethnic candidates in his parliamentary party and elsewhere. Perhaps he will have learnt his lesson, in which case we might be able to declare the age of identity politics — epitomised by Sayeeda Warsi — as very happily over.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/08/baroness-warsi-was-over-promoted-incapable-and-incompetent/

    Peter

    August 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

  4. Does Baroness Warsi actually KNOW what Churchill thought of Islam? He thought it was a primitive religion that shackled the minds and abilities of its adherents. I don’t think he would be out there demonstrating against ‘Islamophobia’ and in favour of ‘islamically friendly’ state schools. In fact, I reckon the old man would have spun so much in his grave he’d have bored his way to Australia by now. Incidentally, as for the number of poor little mites being sacrificed by Israeli munitions, perhaps HAMAS could do more to protect them such as not forcing them to camp next to weapons sites or not situating their headquarters in the Al Shifra hospital. Just a suggestion. (By the way, do you know that 160 children died digging the ‘tunnels’, which are actually more like a labyrinth? HAMAS itself admitted that.).

    Sue R

    August 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm


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