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Oct 26 2014

Guest Post: Open Letter to Bob Blackman

guest_postDear Bob

I was appalled, but not surprised, when you voted against recognising Palestine as a state in the House of Commons on 13 October 2014.

Other MPs are obviously more in touch with their constituents’ feelings and realise that public opinion has changed and moved against Israel. Israel cannot be marked as above any other state, even if they act with justification, they cannot be above redress if they do a wrong.

Illegal expansion of settlements in areas that make a united Palestinian state impossible, illegal occupation of the West Bank, as well as the blockade, all weaken Israel’s claim that it is committed to the peace process.

By any account, this summer Israeli offensive in Gaza left 1400 civilians dead, of which 500 were children, compared to 4 civilians and 56 Israeli soldiers. This does not look good for any democracy even when we allow for Hamas brutality.

The Palestinian people are not all Hamas and that goes especially for the 500 children who were killed in Operation Protective Edge.

I will not appeal to you (as your fellow MPs tried) by describing the suffering of the Palestinians. I am well versed in the Friends of Israel’s defence on the matter. I will say that continuing with the status quo in Gaza only leads to the disenfranchisement of the Palestinians, and turning them more towards Hamas. The threat of terrorism decreases with giving the Palestinians a right to return, freedom of movement, ending the blockade and giving them respect by acknowledging their state. Israel did not need borders to be recognised then why shouldn’t Palestinians have the same right.

Israel needs to hear these truths and counselled that ignoring it threatens its legitimacy within the international community and risks complete isolation.

Bob, you said that you voted no with your fellow friends of Israel. Loyalty is a good trait in friendship but as Benjamin Franklin said “Tis a great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults; greater to tell him his”

Shabana Hussain,
Harrow Resident

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9 comments

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  1. Melanie

    I can’t even be bothered to argue your half truths about Palestine and Hamas. You definitely know nothing about Israel. But to have an MP such as Bob, who isn’t voting out of fear of Muslim fundamentalist reprisals but because he’s seen the truth with his own eyes, makes me proud to be a Harrovian. Well done Mr Blackman sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar

  2. ROBERT SHAFRAN

    Brilliant Article

    As a Jew who lives in Harrow East, I whole heartedly agree with what you have said, if Israel wants to survive and have lasting and meaningful peace they need a 2 state solution which means:

    Recognising a Palestinian State
    Sticking to 1967 borders
    Stop the building of illegal settlements
    Stop treating Palestinians like animals and end the blockade on Gaza
    Recognising the rights of Palestinians and their right to return

    Melanie I am not sure what your agenda is on this post:

    Are you part of the Israeli PR machine that sits in offices scouring the internet all day for anything negative about Israel and then comments on it?

    I think YOU Melanie clearly know nothing about Israel, or Palestinians or history, why don’t you try to be less ignorant about the whole issue do some reading and open your mind up.

    As a Jew I can say I am utterly ashamed of the actions of Israel.

    Israel has killed over 500 innocent children this summer!

    Bob Blackman certainly won’t have my vote this Summer thats guaranteed.

    He is short sighted when it comes to Israel, people like him will cause the downfall of Israel, an ignorant politician, who is clearly not fit for office, spent £11k of council money blocking an award for Nelson Mandella, voting against Gay marriage because he believed in the sanctity of marriage only to reveal himself as a long term adulterer in the papers.

    Not much of a gentleman or a scholar is he Melanie?

    Melanie says Bob is not voting out of Fear of “Muslim Fundamentalist” Reprisals. “Muslim Fundamentalist” Is that one of your key words to debase the legitimacy of any argument for a Palestinian State? Is that all you have? Its a pathetic strategy, basically anyone calling for a Palestinian State must be a “Muslim Fundamentalist” basically a Muslim and well aren’t they all mad? Yes Bob don’t worry about a backlash from those looneys.

    Only Melanie – what you will find shocking was that over 250 of our BRITISH “NON MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALIST” MPS VOTED IN FAVOUR OF RECOGNISING A PALESTINIAN STATE IN 2014 DEMOCRACY HAS SPOKEN!

    1. Melanie

      Robert, your ignorance shames you. How can Israel agree to a two state solution when Hamas does not recognise Israel’s right to exist? It is a naive proposal. Hamas, a terrorist organisation, which is vilified by most of the Arab and Muslim countries in the region, will only be satisfied when Israel is bombed to extinction. I speak from a place of knowledge, having volunteered in Palestine and lived amongst its people. Their suffering is appalling, their fear of their own leaders is palpable. There will never be peace whilst Hamas rule. Palestine receives the majority of its aid from Israel. The doctors, nurses and other voluntary personnel are Jewish Israelis, working alongside diasporan Jews such as myself. So when I hear the views of people who have no real idea of what is going on. Their opinions formed from reading newspapers and other media, I find it difficult to give their views any credence. Bob Blackman went to see for himself, with his own eyes, what was happening. When you make the time and effort to do the same, when you take yourself off to volunteer in the area, as I did, then I’ll be interested. Until then, your lack of genuine knowledge is something you should keep quiet about. Israel has not killed 500 innocent children, Hamas threw their own children on the bonfire. How can you negotiate a peace agreement with people whose hatred of Israel outweighs their love for their own children? Until Hamas are gone there is no hope. That is a great sadness to Israeli, Jew and Muslim alike. I am making another humanitarian trip in a few months, you are more than welcome to join me and see the truth. I’m sure your apology will swiftly follow.

  3. ROBERT SHAFRAN

    Dear Melanie

    Thank you for your detailed response.

    No one here is in support of Hamas, and if you read carefully, as I am not sure you have neither is Ms Hussain’s article.

     Although democratically elected, Hamas clearly don’t have the best interests of a peaceful future in their minds. 

    They manipulate their own people and reign terror on Israelis in an unacceptable manner (all be it through useless home made rockets that could barely blow up a tin of baked beans let alone cause any real destruction.)

    But let’s get one thing straight – there is extremism on both sides.

    While the worlds papers vilify Hamas, terrorists on the Israeli side are celebrated heroes.

    Israel was born out of terrorists let’s not forget the Irgun, it wasn’t long ago that they carried out terrorist atrocities against the British and Palestinian people.

    We forget now that Menachem Begin a Prime Minister of Israel was indeed the mastermind behind the bombing of the King David Hotel and a leading member of the Irgun. In which innocent people were killed.

    So before painting all Palestinians as terrorists, and before bleeding on about why you can’t have peace because of Hamas look at Israel its policies it’s politicians and what they have done to the Palestinians for the last 60 years. 

    Look carefully and open up your heart and mind, try to be neutral not one sided – that’s what we need people to do if we want peace.

    These are some of the things Israeli politicians have said:

    Ariel Sharon 

    “I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child that will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child are more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on…”

    Interview with Ouze Merham

    There are eye witness accounts of the massacres he carried out in 1982 shooting children like rabbits.

    Yet Ariel Sharon is someone elected to be Prime Minister this is his background these are things he said – yet you Melanie have the gall to say peace cannot be achieved only because of Hamas.

    I won’t even bother quoting the right wing politicians who say things like kill all Palestinian men women children and babies, destroy gaza, drive the arabs into the sea, God gave us this land – why don’t you do some reading on people like Dov Lior and his rulings, he is ten times worse than Hamas if you ask me and he probably has the ear of several politicians in the Knesset. 

    Maybe you should add that as another reason you cannot have peace, and not just harp on about Hamas.

    Stop using Hamas as your excuse for everything, I am tired of hearing this constantly – Israel is meant to be better than Hamas, meant to be held to higher standards – but at this stage I am starting to wonder if they are.

    Hamas didn’t throw kids into the fire lets get that straight – 

    Not all children killed were near ammunition dumps of Hamas, although that’s what Israel tries to tell the world.

    4 children playing football on a beach being blown to bits by Israeli fighter jets had nothing to do with Hamas.

    A UN safe house was also bombed to bits killing children despite the UN calling the IDF with the position of the safe house several times.

    The list goes on and on, and then you have the right wing settlers who think they have some god given right to the land of illegal settlements who every so often as they did last week, run over or shoot a poor Palestinian kid for throwing stones.

    It’s hatred that’s inbred within Israelis for Palestinians that drives them to do these hideous acts of terror in the name of defense.

    How can anyone simply blame Hamas for no peace? Both sides are clearly wrong.

    As a Jew, I am increasingly concerned about hatred being inbred into our youth at our synagogues and community centers, it’s not on! I don’t hate any person from any other religion – I don’t hate Muslims or Arabs just because I am a Jew, yet this is what is being taught and I have witnessed it. We risk having an extreme fringe of Jewish kids who are utterly misguided if this carries on, so many of our youth going off on some misguided religious duty to join the IDF.

     You say Hamas is vilified by most Arab and Muslim countries but you have missed the point, no one here is saying they are good – but in any case don’t use other muslim countries as your back up they are hardly praiseworthy – most are brutal dictatorships they don’t represent democracy nor do they represent their people.

    Melanie, I can only applaud your good work along side other Israelis being volunteers to help the Palestinians – I don’t doubt your sincere intentions for a second, I am sure you and all the volunteers you work with aren’t doing it out of a guilty conscience because of what the Palestinians have had to endure over the last 60 years.The fact they need volunteers, aid and help says something to me.

    MelanieI just ask you to have more of an open mind toward peace, perhaps look at Israel with a critical eye before using Hamas and we have a right to defend ourselves as an argument.

    Israel has imposed a blockade on the ordinary people of Gaza which is unacceptable, Israel continues to build illegal settlements and Israel continues to deny basic human rights to Palestinians.

    I have been to Israel and witnessed how the other side lives, how they are harassed and mocked by Israeli soldiers at check points, how they lack the most basic things we take for granted, they have no future and they have no prospects.

    It’s easier for a Romanian to get into the UK through international immigration than it is for a Palestinian to get past a checkpost trying to get home.

    The problem is not just Hamas, it’s Israel and politicians over here who cannot bear the thought of a Palestinian State like Bob Blackman.

    You say Bob Blackman went to see for his own eyes, yet he did not visit Gaza because it was being bombed like mad, it sounds like he was briefed on the iron dome system and that’s about it from what I hear. He was basically there to watch Gaza get bombed (not sure if he was one of the Israeli’s out with their popcorn and sofas watching it like a move clapping as each bomb exploded on Gaza), Palestinian civilians be killed and then to return only condemning Hamas for everything.

    What people fail to recognise is the key to Israels future is lasting peace with the Palestinians and Arabs alike, that can’t be achieved through not recognizing them, not giving them rights, and blowing them and their children up every couple of years and saying it was out of defense.

    The world has seen enough of Israel’s brutality – people won’t stand for it anymore, Peter Lerner coming on TV repeatedly saying everyone country has a right to defend itself (well of course it does but what you are doing is not defense) and using phrases he picked up from a focus group on how to face the world after killing lots of children and babies “to be fair” repeatedly just made me cringe.

    Lets not turn this post into a debate about Israel and Palestine – as it will be never ending.

    The article above basically celebrates a DEMOCRATIC decision by BRITISH MP’s to recognize the PALESTINIAN STATE, it wasn’t one or two MP’s but over 250.

    Good on them!

    It’s time MP’s like Bob Blackman woke up – as – most politicians in this country think it’s high time we recognize Palestine, even if it is just this symbolic gesture that means very little.

    1. Melanie

      Your naivety is disgraceful for someone so opinionated. The fact that Bob Blackman was one of only 12 MPs is an example of his high moral standards. You can throw as many quotes from various high ranking Israeli leaders as you want. You can list the death of innocent children. You don’t list the never ending vitriol from Hamas against not just Israel, but all Jews, homosexuals, women or anyone who will not bend to their will. You failed to mention the Israeli, Jewish baby murdered by a terrorist who crossed the border on Friday. That story didn’t even make the news. One more dead Jew, who cares? I could supply you with the percentages of Palestinians who try to kill soldiers as they cross the border. Although usually they place the bombs on their children. Please don’t forget that IDF soldiers are 18-20 years old. You talk about hatred being taught in synagogues, which ones. I don’t know of any. But anti semitic attacks are up by 600%. Jewish university students have suffered more attacks in the past year than in the past 10 years combined. How many people have been prosecuted for these attacks? Not one. So whilst your heart bleeds for the Palestinians, who voted for the most reviled terror organisation to be their leaders, maybe you could spare a thought for the Jewish teenagers trying to better themselves at university. Maybe you can spare a thought for the parents of the baby killed on Friday. Nobody is stating that Israel is perfect, but I know where I’d rather live. Just because Bob Blackman refuses to follow the sheep into the ‘condemn Israel and let’s knock all the Jews while we’re at it’ pen, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It means he has a brain of his own and he uses it. I am grateful to him for that. When you can show me actual evidence of hate being taught, when Palestine can match Israel’s human rights record and when Hamas stops using women and children as human shields, (as verified by the UN), then you may have an argument. Until then your points are ridiculous in their simplicity and non sensical.

  4. ROBERT SHAFRAN

    Dear Melanie
    
As you continue to insult me and call me naive and insult my opinions what becomes clear is that YOU yourself are naive, close minded and full of hate, its all slowly coming out.

    In fact I have started to wonder what kind of volunteering you actually did in Israel, were you by any chance volunteering to build illegal settlements? maybe you were carrying bricks on your head delivering them to building sites thinking you were fulfilling a religious prophecy as so many volunteers do? No?

    Maybe you were out there defending Palestinians protesting like Rachel Corrie was, incase you don’t know who that was, she was American volunteer who was murdered by the IDF, whose body was run over by a driver who did not “see her”….maybe you can spare her a thought as so many Jews in America did by calling her family and giving them death threats.

    I stand for peace and for love, I am not the only Jew who is ashamed and condemns the actions of Israel, my own family used to collect money to fund the zionist movement, but today I am sorry to say their acts of terror against the defensless Palestinians are disgusting and if you can’t admit that and keep trying to justify it with extremism and the holocaust you will get no where and ultimately lead to the destruction of Israel because the world will not stand by at these acts of terror.

    Your posts clearly show you are one sided with a completely closed mind, still harping on about HAMAS.

    NO ONE HERE IN THE ARTICLE OR IN MY POSTS SUPPORTS HAMAS – yet all you do is bring them up.

    This post if you hadn’t realised was about the recognition of a Palestinian state which 250+ MP’s supported in Partliament it is not about HAMAS or anti semetism or anything else.

    Are you too intellectually deficient to understand that in this post no one supports Hamas? you contradict yourself by in your first post saying “ Their suffering is appalling, their fear of their own leaders is palpable.” by which you imply the Palestinians are in fear of their own leadership (who are democratically elected) then go on to say in your next post “So whilst your heart bleeds for the Palestinians, who voted for the most reviled terror organisation to be their leaders”.

    So Melanie are you feeling bad for the Palestinians? Or are you full of hate for them because out of their sheer desperation and misery they elected Hamas?

    Are you the best cronie Bob could get for this? You are losing this argument in the most laughable way. Maybe you will be replaced on this post with a more competent cronie now.

    In your post you say

    “The fact that Bob Blackman was one of only 12 MPs is an example of his high moral standards.”

    What do you mean by high moral standards? whose moral standards are we comparing him with, that of mother Teresa or Robert Maxwell?

    You also say of Hamas, and you like to bring up Hamas because you for some reason think anyone who voted to recognise the state of Palestine is a support of Hamas, which is NOT true, but you are too ignorant to understand and the recognition of a Palestinian state though practically meaningless burns you to bits.

    Anyway lets look at BOB BLACKMANS HIGH MORAL STANDARDS:

    On gay marriage, Mr Blackman did not vote in favor because he is a firm believer in the “sanctity” of marriage. It transpired in the paper a few days later he was having an affair with Carol Shaw for over 11 years.

    You can go on about Hamas being anti gay and lesbian but so are countless Israeli’s and jewish organisations, and so is your pal with high moral standards Bob Blackman. Not that I am in favour of Hamas but your point is flawed.

    Bob Blackman blocked a freedom of borough award that Brent wanted to give Nelson Mandella – in fact he spent £11k of tax payers money to get an injuction to block this award. Why? What was it about Nelson Mandella that Bob Blackman had to spent £11k of tax payers money to stop getting a pretty meaningless award? Is it because he stood for freedom against apartheid? The fact that in 2013 Bob Blackman said he was proud of his decision to do this speaks volumes, not sure if he is pro apartheid but I cannot think of any other reason why Nelson Mandella should not have been given an award.
    
He enjoyed a trip to Azerbaijaan, and said nothing about the countries human rights record…is there a pattern here?

    These examples are just he tip of the ice berg.

    HIs moral “high standards” should include being anti gay and lesbian, and anti Nelson Mandella so pro apartheid.

    And if you think that he has high moral standards only because he voted not to recognise a Palestinian state then you are deluded, as the other 250+ British MP’s who voted in favor of recognising a Palestinian state would in anyones opinion trump the “high moral standards” of a sleaze bag like Bob Blackman.

    Even Carol Shaw his long term mistress said she wasted 10 years on him.

    Now back to your post.

    There is no excuse for terrorists to inflict attacks on Palestinians or on Israeli’s – and of course I felt disgusted hearing from your post that a jewish family has lost their child to a terrorist. I pray that god gives this family patience and doesn’t turn their despair into hate, because hate on either side is the problem. I pray the same for every victim of any atrocity on either side, and FYI there are many more Palestinian families who are NO LESS important in my prayers.

    You are very one sided Melanie and this is the prevailing attitude which has landed Israel in this mess.
    
You say I am free to quote Israeli leadership, so I will, Ariel Sharon who once said “a million palestinian lives is not worth one jewish fingernail” and your arguments on this post mirror that, you mention terror attacks on Jews, Anti Semetic attacks on Jewish students but not once have you acknowledged the absolute atrocities committed by the IDF on Gaza this summer, on how many innocent people were killed? Over 500 babies, all you say is Hamas put them in the bonfire, you are full of hate – you disgust me and make me sick and it is attitudes like yours that have landed Israel with the problems it has today.

    You have the nerve to try to justify these hideous attacks on innocent women and children using the cloak of Anti Semitism, well NOT IN MY NAME, there is NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THE KILLING OF INNOCENT CHILDREN.
 
NOT IN MY NAME

    There are countless survivors of the holocaust and their descendants who also condemn what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinians. 

I personally am sick of Jews hi jacking anti semitism to justify their support for the far right, lets face it none of us really experiences anti semetism on a daily basis, most people don’t even realise I am a jew unless I go out of my way to tell them. By hi jacking anti semetism we are mocking the reality of how serious it was 80 years ago – those were the real victims, not some university students getting into heated debates about whether Israel is right or the Palestinians.

    Melanie do not belittle the suffering of those who died in the holocaust by bringing up the petty anti semetism we barely face today, this is nothing, there is racism against everyone, black, Indian, Muslim and even white European these days, so don’t elevate the racism againts jews using the anti semetic holocaust card because you belittle the real suffering that was inflicted in the holocaust.

    And of course there is extremism being bred within the Jewish community, read your own posts, its attitudes like yours that breed hatred in our youth, and they are echoed in many synagogues and youth centers. Its what causes young men and women to go off an volunteer in the IDF, out of some misguided religious duty, they are every bit as deluded as the young muslim boys and girls going off to join ISIS.

    Anyway no doubt you or some other cronie with try to drown out my post with more stories from how much Jews are suffering from anti semetic attacks and how Israel can’t negotiate with Hamas because of BLA BLA BLA.

    I will end my post with a quote from my favourite politician, Nelson Mandella

    ““We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

    The 250+ British MP’s who voted in favour of recognising the Palestinian State must realise this.

    To lasting peace and love between all!

    1. Melanie

      Personal vilification only erodes your argument and belittles the user. To quote Golda Meir; “there’s can never be peace as long as they hate us more than they love their children”.

  5. ROBERT SHAFRAN

    I agree with your comments – on vilifying.

    Here are some quotes for you:

    David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

    “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

    When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

    “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

    We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves.” Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

    Have you read some of the things that an Israeli Parliamentarian Ayelet Shaked has said?

    “Israeli parliamentarian Ayelet Shaked has announced that she wants to kill not only Palestinian children, whom she calls “little snakes,” but also the Palestinian mothers who raise them. Recently Shaked openly called for the genocidal murder of every Palestinian. Instead of being sent to the Hague, prosecuted, ejected from government, or even rebuked, she was lionized by Israeli society.

    Gilad Sharon, son of Ariel Sharon, agrees with Shaked. In an op-ed published in the Jerusalem Post, Sharon advocated using nuclear weapons to exterminate the Palestinians. He wrote that Israel needs to “flatten all of Gaza,” adding that “The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

    The list of these extremist Israelis who are parliamentarians, or Israeli authorities of some kind goes on and on.
    
Your quote is utter garbage, there can be no peace until both sides stop their extremist elements, I note your silence on Israeli extremism.

    You have clearly not read or understood the article written here properly and just jumped to the defence of Israel without first thinking. 

    Your posts clearly one sided are basic and lack a mature outlook on things. I am glad you admit Israel is not perfect though well done that’s the first step to a real peaceful future for Israel.

    Putting Hamas aside as we can all agree they are not a sincere leadership or a credible one, Israel has some extremist hate against Palestinians and this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    It’s not just Hamas you can’t negotiate a peace deal with its Israel’s far right too.
    Both sides must stop and change their attitude and actually sincerely commit to peace.

    But until people on both sides open up and look in the mirror and and view things from the other side there will be no peace. 

    Peace requires justice for both sides not just one.

    Hopefully democracy will prevail here with more and more MPs waking up to the realities of the current crimes being perpetrated by Israel, and in the future Israel will actually I pray live up to the high standards placed on it by the world by recognising a Palestinian state, sticking to 1967 borders, stopping the building of illegal settlements and recognising the rights of the Palestinian people.

    To all the British MP’s who made history by voting to recognise Palestine this year, I salute you! Brilliant British MP’s doing what is right!

  6. iharrow.com

    …and this point, we’ll bring this discussion to a close.

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