Many people are praising Labour Party MP Hilary Benn for his "Churchillian" speech supporting the bombing of ISIS in Syria. Describing ISIS as 'fascists' he said:
"Can we really stand aside and refuse to act fully in our self-defence against those who are planning these attacks?"Well, apparently while he demands the UK bomb Islamic terrorists in a country over 2000 miles away in order to avoid hypothetical future attacks, he does not believe a certain other country has a right to defend itself from Islamic terrorists on its border - even while those terrorists are launching hundreds of rockets that are reaching 50% of that country's civilian population.
Indeed this would be the very same Hilary Benn who delivered the most vicious condemnation of Israel last summer when Israel finally responded to defend itself from multiple unprovoked Hamas rocket attacks.
Here is what he said (it is difficult to imagine a more sided, anti-Israel statement and all the claims in the first paragraph were subsequently proven to be lies - the schools and power station were hit by Hamas rockets misfiring - with no mention at all of the millions of Israeli civilians having to live in shelters for 4 weeks ):
The scenes we have witnessed have been appalling. The ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops was wrong and has only led to even more suffering. 1,800 people there have been killed, 450,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, the fuel supply for the power station has been bombed and the UN has warned that the health service is on the point of collapse. The citizens of Gaza did not know where it was safe to go, and the shelling of the UN-run schools where people were sheltering on 30 July and 3 August was an outrage. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called these attacks reprehensible, unjustifiable and criminal. I agree, and there must now be a full investigation so that those responsible can be held to account.And here is a reminder of the difference between ISIS and the terrorists that Israel faces on all sides:
... As the Labour leader Ed Miliband said “The escalation of violence engulfing Gaza has led, and continues to lead, to suffering and destruction on an appalling scale, and is losing Israel friends in the international community day by day.....the Prime Minister is wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza. And his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally. “
From the start, the UN Security Council rightly and consistently demanded an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, with a complete cessation of violence so as to bring an end to the unacceptable killing of large numbers of Palestinian civilians, including children, and to the rocket attacks into Israel which have targeted and killed civilians there. Like many MPs, I urged the Foreign Secretary to do all he could to achieve a ceasefire, but I share the deep concern that has been expressed about the failure of the British government to condemn the scale of Palestinian suffering as a result of the Israeli military incursion.
On UK arms exports to Israel, I have also raised this with the Foreign Secretary. It is clear that no new licences should be granted where there is any doubt about the end use of military equipment and the Government must urgently publish its review into existing UK export licences to Israel. We must be sure that the UK rules on arms exports, which prevent the export of military and dual use equipment which could be used for internal repression, the abuse of human rights or to provoke or prolong armed conflicts, are being applied fully.
Turning to the longer term, while the terrible murder of the teenagers - three Israelis and one Palestinian - was the immediate cause of this crisis, we know that the real problem is the blockade of Gaza, the continued building of illegal settlements by Israel on occupied land, and no progress at all on the peace process. I have seen for myself how the restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza affect the lives of the people there. The blockade must end with the lifting of restrictions as part of an agreement between the two sides.