Monday, 13 July 2009

Gaza: response (of sorts) from Tom Harris, MP

Following my initial letters, an exchange with Tom Harris on the Israeli military's boarding of the Spirit of Humanity, abduction of 21 peace activists and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.


House of Commons, London SW1A OAA

10 July 2009

Dear Mr Hilley

Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch recently with regard to your thoughts and concerns on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

I have written on your behalf to the Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development, setting out the points that you have made and have asked that the relevant party take them into consideration and address your concerns.

As soon as I have received a response I will of course write to you again immediately.

Best wishes

Tom Harris MP
Member of Parliament for Glasgow South


Dear Mr Harris

Thanks for your reply and for writing to the departments noted. I hold out little prospect of a qualitative response or any serious intention to challenge the Israeli government over this and multiple other humanitarian violations and prima facie war crimes.

As you, no doubt, recall, I also asked for your own specific thoughts on these matters. I can only conclude that the absence of such in your letter indicates your own reluctance to condemn these aggressive and illegal actions.

I'm reminded here of Desmond Tutu's fine words:

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

Yours sincerely

John Hilley


Here's an illustration of Tom Harris's apologist leanings towards Israel couched in such 'neutral' language:
Tom congratulated the charity for its efforts in bringing aid to Gaza which suffered an air and ground assault by the Israeli military following months of rocket attacks against Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

"Israel has the right to defend itself, but the people of Gaza have a right not to live in fear and terror. I have written to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, expressing my concerns, and the concerns of many constituents who have contacted me in recent days, about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza."
It's this kind of coy, distorting response - in the face of constituents' concern over Israel's villainy - which only helps perpetuate the myth that the Palestinians are largely responsible for their own suffering. Which makes Mr Harris, in his refusal to denounce Israel as the primary aggressor, an effective accessory to that suffering.


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