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Thursday, 10 November 2011

JC's Martin Bright on Nick Clegg

I was very interested to read this typically candid piece (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/58043/clegg-what-you-see-what-you-get) by Jewish Chronicle Political Editor Martin Bright, about Nick Clegg's recent comments on how best to counter extremism (http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2011/11/nick-clegg-on-extremism.html?m=1).

Martin Bright writes: "It may come as a surprise...that...Nick Clegg has taken such a strong stance on...the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis). The decision by ministers to cancel a civil service recruitment fair organised by Fosis because the organisation had "failed to challenge sufficiently terrorist and extremist ideologies" was a bold one. Mr Clegg's comments to the Community Security Trust in Manchester last week were intended to illustrate his "muscular liberalism"...(It) is important that he has sent a signal that the government will not endorse or fund Fosis events...Mr Clegg has always argued for a policy of engagement with radical Islam but he and others within the party have been keen to dismiss the idea that the Liberal Democrats are anti-Israel. Exactly a year ago, he gave a speech to Lib Dem Friends of Israel which emphasised his party's support for a change in the law of universal jurisdiction."

54 comments:

  1. The change in the law of universal jurisdict was never put to conference so the party could vote on it and with good reason, Clegg knew he would loose. Clegg like Ludford has become an apologists for Israel's brutal occupation

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  2. Hello, Andi, I am pleased that you are reading my blog and that we are having this debate.

    If you look at this piece, http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2011/07/lib-dem-leadership-on-universal.html?m=1, you'll see that Lib Dems indeed played a key role in this reform to the law, which I support.

    Andi, I would argue that Nick Clegg remains a strong advocate for the sort of peace process that could achieve a two-state solution that would bring peace, justice and security to Palestinians and Israelis alike. Do you perhaps agree with Mr Clegg that, as he put it in a speech last year:

    "Liberal Democrats have always supported a two-state solution that would bring peace, justice and security to Israelis and Palestinians alike. The quest for international justice is close to the heart of all Liberal Democrats. This sense of justice has led many Liberal Democrats, myself included, to campaign hard for the rights of the Palestinian victims of the Israeli/Arab conflict.

    "That campaigning for justice for the Palestinian people has been heard loud and clear from the Liberal Democrats. It should always have been accompanied, equally loudly and equally clearly, by an awareness of the security challenges faced by Israel and of the right of Israel to defend itself against the threats that it continually faces.

    "However, I’m not certain that we Liberal Democrats have always made ourselves clearly heard on this, so let me say it again now: Israel’s right to thrive in peace and security is non-negotiable for Liberal Democrats. No other country so continually has its right to exist called into question as does Israel, and that is intolerable.

    "There can be no solution to the problems of the Middle East that does not include a full and proper recognition of Israel by all the parties to the conflict.

    "On behalf of the UK Government, I wish the latest Israeli/Palestinian talks well, but I go further – whatever the UK can do, working with its international partners in the EU and the UN, to support the Americans in furthering the peace process – whatever we can do, not only must be done, but will be done.

    "I particularly believe the EU, as an economic superpower neighbouring Israel and Palestine, has a huge role to play to persuade both sides to take steps towards peace. The EU both can and should use its economic clout to put pressure on both sides; to encourage Israel to restrict its settlement building program and to push all Palestinians into recognising Israel’s right to exist.

    "Everybody knows what a peaceful settlement to the conflict would look like. We have come so close to achieving it before. Should it come within our grasp again, it must not be allowed to slip. Generations of Israeli, Palestinian and Arab children demand and deserve nothing less."

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  3. Yes there are some good points in there. However, I have recived no explaination from Nick Clegg as to why 1) we did not vote for Palastinian membership at the UN and 2) in the vote at the security council. Clegg reminds me of Ludford. He always in favour of a palastinian state until it comes to voting for it.

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  4. You'd have to ask Mr Clegg's office for a definitive view of what Mr Clegg thinks about the UN vote on Palestinian statehood. I assume that the Deputy Prime Minister agrees with the Foreign Secretary's statement about the UK Government's stance (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=689368882), in which William Hague said, on 9 November 2011:

    "On Friday the Admissions Committee of the Security Council will conclude its consideration of the Palestinian application and produce a report summarising Council members’ views on whether Palestine meets the criteria for membership under the United Nations Charter.

    "As this could now soon be followed by a vote in the UNSC it is appropriate to inform the House of the Government’s intentions.

    "The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority largely fulfils criteria for UN membership, including statehood as far as the reality of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories allows, but its ability to function effectively as a State would be impeded by that situation. A negotiated end to the occupation is the best way to allow Palestinian aspirations to be met in reality and on the ground.

    "We will not vote against the application because of the progress the Palestinian leadership has made towards meeting the criteria.

    "But nor can we vote for it while our primary objective remains a return to negotiations through the Quartet process and the success of those negotiations.

    "For these reasons in common with France and in consultation with our European partners, the United Kingdom will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN.

    "We reserve the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace. The United Kingdom will continue to be one of the principal supporters of Palestinian state building efforts, assisting them to tackle poverty, build institutions and boost their economy.

    "If their application to the UNSC fails, the Palestinian leadership have indicated that they may take the issue to a vote at the UN General Assembly, where different voting procedures and different considerations apply. We and the other countries of the EU will continue to emphasise that any proposition put to the General Assembly must make a return to negotiations more likely.

    "For Israel, the only means of averting unilateral applications to the UN is a return to negotiations. A demonstration of political will and leadership is needed from both sides to break the current impasse. This includes the Israeli government being prepared to make a more decisive offer than any they have been willing to make in the past."

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  5. What a load of non-sense. When we abstain we vote in Israel's favour because it means we do not vote on the Palastinian behalf, despite saying we are in favour of a Palastinian state. Another point (and changing the subject) it has not gone unnoicted that Clegg has appointed a number of liberal democrat friends of Israel to the Lords, and nobody from the Liberal Democrat friends of Palastine. Futher eveidence, if evidence was needed, our party is being led by those with links to the pro israel lobby

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  6. Actually, some pro-Israeli people were upset by the UK's abstention, as they wanted the UK to vote against the Palestinian application for statehood.

    Re:- peers, you say that Nick Clegg has appointed "a number of liberal democrat friends of Israel to the Lords, and nobody from the Liberal Democrat friends of Palastine." Obviously it is a matter of record that Lord (Monroe) Palmer is a Vice-President of Lib Dem Friends of Israel (LDFI), but who are the others? Can you please name them?

    You imply that there is some sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics from behind the scenes. Is that what you think?
    Are there no friends of Palestine among the new Lib Dem peers? I know of at least one pro-Palestinian Lib Dem who became a peer in 2010: Sal Brinton, who I like and admire very much, and who has always argued in favour of the Palestinian cause.

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  7. Sarah Krammer is a member of the friends of Israel..... and yes I do think there is some sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics from behind the scenes - look no further than the starnge and bizzare case of Adam Werritty. I see Israel has decided to build more homes Israel plans to build more than 1,000 homes in West Bank, East Jerusalem. Like I've said before, Lib Dem appeasement of Israel has lead to Israel giving them nothing in return except more settlements. Indeed, if this keeps on, I will publish an article on the subject explaining that not only have the Lib Dems never voted for a Palastinian state in the UN, but under Nick Clegg the number of settlements expanded even more than they did under labour.

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  8. Who is Sarah Krammer?

    Sir, your own words about the lobby say far more about where you are coming from than any words of mine would do - you are a conspiracy theorist.

    And since when did the British Government (Labour or Coalition) have control over Israeli settlement building?!

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  9. I meant Susan Kramer as u very well know. We don't have any control of settlements because we don't impose santions all we do is 'express concern'. If we impose santions, as we should, that would change.

    I won't even bother to lower myself and answer your comments about being a conspiracy theorist.

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  10. Oh, so your "Sarah Krammer" is Susan Kramer. OK. A glance at Google shows Susan Kramer to be someone who is very fair and balanced in her comments on Israel and the Palestinians. I have always had great respect for Susan Kramer and had never thought of her as having any particular connection to Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel. Is there any particular reason that you assume that Susan Kramer is a particular friend of Israel? Please tell me more?

    You are a conspiracy theorist because while you appear happy to see British people campaign on all manner of foreign policy issues (including lobbying on behalf of the Palestinians), you yourself write: "I do think there is some sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics from behind the scenes - look no further than the starnge and bizzare case of Adam Werritty."

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  11. There is a sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics as many pro israel supporters have admitted. Infact I myself am pro Isreal - but not pro occupation, not pro calling for talks and saying nothing when Israel builds homes on lands than belong to the Palastinians. No! during her spell as a MP she never once called for, or backed a motion calling for santions on Israel - no where near as bad as Ludford of course, who tells everybody she is in favour of a Palastinian state, just never votes for it when a motion is put before conference.

    Your very good at asking questions lets see if you can answer one. Why doesn't Israel withdraw to the 1967 boarder?

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  12. So your definition of a friend of Israel is any MP who does NOT actively support sanctions against Israel?! That is a very narrow definition of a friend of Israel. You know, presumably, that our own party overwhelmingly passed a motion opposing the proposed academic boycott of Israel, in 2007?

    I am confused by what you say about Sarah Ludford and a vote at Conference. I was there, were you? There was no motion on Israel/Palestine at this year's Conference. There was a motion on the Arab Awakening, and an amendment focusing on Israel/Palestine. Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel supported that amendment, as did Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, and I myself voted in favour of it. Sarah Ludford spoke in favour of the amendment and said that she wished that it was more detailed. I was not aware that she had subsequently voted against it?

    You say: "There is a sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics as many pro israel supporters have admitted." Can you please name some of pro-Israel supporters who have 'admitted' that "There is a sinister pro-Israeli lobby that manipulates British politics"? Do you consider other foreign-policy campaigns in Britain to be "sinister", or only the pro-Israeli campaigns? Although you are presumably not yourself antisemitic, your words echo traditional antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews conspiring behind the scenes to manipulate great events.

    You ask: "Why doesn't Israel withdraw to the 1967 border?" That is a question best answered by Israelis themselves, but here is my answer: Israel wants to negotiate with the Palestinians to create a viable Palestinian state that will leave peacefully alongside a secure State of Israel. The border between Israel and the Palestinian state will be decided in negotiations, to create the best possible borders for both sides, in a deal that could involve agreed land swaps.

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  13. The boarders are already there, it does not rquire any negotiations it just requires Israel to withdraw. Ludford did in fact vote against the motion not for it. Indeed I recall the speaker who came after Ludform comenting....this is not the first time sombody has come to the mike to vote against a motion they say they are in favour off. My definition of a friend of Israei is sombody who tells israel they are wrong when they are,and votes for santions against israel when need be. As for the commnts about me being antisemitic that what pro israel supporters always say about people who call for santions

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  14. I did not say that you are antisemitic. Nor do I believe it is antisemitic to call for sanctions against Israel - it is very wrong and misguided, but it is not (in and of itself) antisemitic. Incidentally, it is not Lib Dem party policy to impose sanctions on Israel. What I said is that while you are presumably not antisemitic, your words about the sinister pro-Israeli lobby echo the words of antisemitic conspiracy theorists who believe that powerful Jews manipulate politics from behind the scenes. Incidentally, the allegation that Jews use accusations of antisemitism to shut down reasoned criticism of Israel is in itself an antisemitic allegation. It is not antisemitic to criticise Israel.

    Confusion reigns, as there was no motion on Israel/Palestine, only an amendment, which Sarah surely voted for? She did not speak against it; she merely damned it with faint praise and said that she wished it had been more detailed.

    Agreed borders do not exist, given that most Arab countries (and Hamas) still do not recognise Israel in any borders at all, and given that, since the expiry of the British Mandate in 1948, the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been in diplomatic limbo, taken first by Jordan and then by Israel, in complete contravention of the UN's 1948 partition resolution. Since Jordan's occupation of those places was no more legal than is Israel's, a resumption of the illegal Jordanian occupation would solve nothing and would create a whole host of new problems.

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  15. The 1967 boarders are recognised by everybody (with the exception of israel and one and two others). In 2011 Lib Dem policy did nothing for the Palastinians, everything for Israel, and of course more settlements. If we continue as we are doing, and with Clegg as leader we will, the only thing that will bring is settlements, more settlements and even more settlements....oh and of course the coalition goverment abstaining but never voting for any pro palastinian state at the un

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  16. So do you want to simply resume Jordan's illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

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  17. So do you want to simply resume Jordan's illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

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  18. Jordon has no intention, they, like me and millions more, just want israel to pull back to its 1967 boarder and the palastinians have their state.....

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  19. as u know,but of course will deny,is the 1967 boarders are palastinian even if the jordians occupied it.....u say anything but admit israel is occupying palastinian land wont u harris

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  20. So can you please give me dates for any period in history during which Palestinians ruled the West Bank or East Jerusalem?

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  21. You say: "Jordon has no intention, they, like me and millions more, just want israel to pull back to its 1967 boarder and the palastinians have their state....." Actually, Jordan strongly discouraged the Palestinians from making their unilateral bid for statehood at the UN. Jordan also strongly favours negotiations, including on borders - only this week, Jordan hosted talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

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  22. which of course led to Israel (as it always does) annoucing they were bill building more homes on palastinian land. Jordon as said time and time again the 1967 boarders belong to the palastinians......the israel postion has been and always will be, keep talking or calling for talks, but always build.... indeed, the israel high court recently concluded that israel can take exploit sources in the west bank this time quarrys against international law.......the rather absurd argugment the court made was israel had occupied the west bank for so long it had a right to the resources.....and it takes this view because israel is never the subject of santions, unlike muslim countires,despite maintaing the most brutal and racist occupation in the region.

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  23. That's interesting about the quarries. If I was an Israeli citizen, would I agree or disagree with the court's decision about the quarries? I don't know. This is an interesting piece about that, from a 'liberal' Israeli newspaper: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-is-exploiting-the-resources-of-the-occupied-west-bank-1.403988?localLinksEnabled=false

    I don't understand what you mean by saying that the peace talks this week "led" to Israel announcing that they were building more homes on Palestinian land, as you put it. The logical inference of what you are saying is that the peace talks CAUSED Israel to announce that it was building those homes - I don't agree. I imagine that the announcement of the building of these homes would have come anyway, regardless of whether or not there are peace talks. Plus, if you read this (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=252062), you will see that the British Government has retracted its original allegation that the announcement is for homes to be built across the Green Line on Palestinian territory - the British Embassy has admitted that that allegation was based on mistaken information.

    You make various assertions about what Jordan does and does not think. Regarding the peace talks and Jordan, I urge you to read this piece: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israelis-and-palestinians-meet-agree-to-keep-talking/2012/01/03/gIQATCppYP_story.html

    It quotes Jordan's Foreign Minister as saying: "The Israeli side received (Palestinian proposals on borders) and promised that through this continuing dialogue there will be an Israeli counter-proposal or an Israeli response to that." So how can you say that Jordan is against negotiations about borders?

    It also quotes the Jordanian Foreign Minister as saying that he hopes that there will soon be: “serious discussions in the coming phase...on borders, on security, on other final status issues, and sticking to the Quartet timeline of concluding all discussions by the end of 2012.”

    So he is again saying that he wants the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate on borders.

    He also reportedly said that "the fate of the settlements is to be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations".

    So, with respect, I must say that the Jordanian Foreign Minister's interpretation of what his government believes is radically different from yours.

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  24. The Jordanian goverment gets massive brides (disgusied as aid) to maintain its peace treaty - this is one of the reasons the west as never imposed santions on Jordon unlike Iran, Iraq Libya. The negotiations of the boarders is based on the view that Israel withdraw to its 1967 boarder, which it won't, because it wants to steal palastinian land.

    Of cause announcement that it was building those homes was trigged by the talks. Israel does it all the time, although I will expect you to lie and say otherwise. And of course the British Government has retracted its original allegation that the announcement is for homes to be built across the Green Line on Palestinian territory - indeed, since Lib Dems joined the coalition the British goverment has been 100 per cent pro israel and 100 per cent 100 anti Palastinians......didn't even vote in favour of the Palastinians joining UNESCO....it abstained which of course is what israel wanted because it meant not voting for Palastinian membership.

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  25. You and I both have access to the same range of facts. My consideration of those facts has led me to form opinions that differ from the opinions that you have formed. The fact that we each have different opinions does not mean that either or both of us lying. I do not lie. I tell the truth about what I think.

    First you said that Jordan (as a country) has espoused certain views that it has demonstrably not espoused. When confronted with the reality of what Jordan's government has actually said, you have performed a U-Turn on what you think about Jordan.

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  26. I see Clegg at the Lib Dem conference did not appear at the Liberal Democrat friends of Palastine meeting......but did at the Lib Dem friends of Israel.....says it all really

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  27. Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine do not do badly at getting very senior Lib Dems along to their party conference fringe meetings. In recent years, they have had the former leader, the Deputy Leader and the Chief Whip! Nick Clegg was not at Lib Dem Friends of Israel's fringe meeting in 2011. He came in 2010, to introduce the guest speaker: Naomi Chazan, Israel's leading human rights activist. Here is a report of the meeting: http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/?content_id=14856 I wish that you had been there.

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  28. And then of course look at his very pro Israel decisons.......1) removing universal jurisdiction which makes it much more difficult for Israeli human rights abusers like Tzipi Livni to escape being arrested. 2) refusing to apply santions on israel for its occupation of the west bank 3) its refuseal to vote in favour of a Palastinian state 4)its refuseal to vote in favour of Palastinian membership of UNESCO 5)Voteing in favour off, and isseing threats to Iran after Israel called for action to be taken against iran..... Compare and contrast this with what Clegg has done (or not done for the Palastinians) 1)told them he supports a palastinian state, then votes against it at the UN Security council. 2) says he would like to see palastinian membersship of un bodies, but does not vote for it. 3) Says he is against settlement activity but refuses to apply santions...unlike with muslim countries. No wonder Clegg shows up at the Lib Dem friends of Israel but not Lib Dem friends of Palastine....

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  29. I believe that the UK's Coalition Government is doing the things that it sincerely believes are most likely to bring about a two-state solution that would give peace, justice and security to Israelis and Palestinians alike. If the Government believed that doing the things that you want it do would achieve anything for the Palestinians or the Israelis, then it would presumably do them.

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  30. No it wouldn't, because it would upset America.......thats why they are trying to start a war with iran for the pupose of appeasing Israel... And btw if Clegg is going to vote against a Palastinian state at the UN, which the coalition did, then he should stop lying and telling people he is in favour of it..

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  31. If they were appeasing Israel (which they aren't) then why would they bother? What would they get out of it? Please explain.

    I do not believe that people are lying when they say that they believe that Nick Clegg strongly supports negotiations that would achieve a two-state solution and bring peace, justice and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

    I do not see anyone trying to start a war with Iran. What I see is a lot of people using diplomatic and economic means to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is in the interests of the entire international community to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. Military action is a last resort and can hopefully be avoided.

    You see the UK's abstention as being a vote against the Palestinians. Some other people saw the abstention as being a vote against the Israelis. It was a principled abstention.

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  32. I disagree. 1)Why is Israel allowed nuclear weapons but not Iran? While I have no time for the Iraian regime, unlike Israel it does not occupy other peoples land and maintain a brutal and racist accupation. Clegg, like u and many others, strongly supports negotiations because he knows Israel has no intention of ending its occupation but buy saying it he hopes to fool people into thinking he supports a palastinian state, while never voting for one. 2)It was a principled abstention - it was done to vote against a palastinian state while at the same time pretending he was 100 for israel.3)It is also in the interests of the entire international community to stop Israel building settlements I dont see clegg imposing santions on israel do u.....wonder why? Like I said, clegg says he in favour of a palastinian state, he just dosnt vote for it...

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  33. Who says that Israel or any other country is allowed to have nuclear weapons? Some would argue that no country should be allowed to have nuclear weapons. The UK, Israel and China already have nuclear weapons, so it is too late to prevent those countries from acquiring them; it is not too late in the case of Iran.

    Besides, as Israel has (unlike Iran) not signed the NPT, Israel's nuclear weapons (unlike Iran's) are not illegal under international law. You call for international law to be upheld regarding the settlements; do you not also want it to be upheld regarding nuclear weapons?

    You write: "While I have no time for the Iraian regime, unlike Israel it does not occupy other peoples land and maintain a brutal and racist accupation." To that I would counter: Iran is a brutal theocracy that sponsors terrorism around the world, has clear ambitions towards regional hegemony and has expressed genocidal tendencies towards a fellow member-state of the United Nations. Can it be wise to allow such a country to have nuclear weapons?

    You write: "Clegg, like u and many others, strongly supports negotiations because he knows Israel has no intention of ending its occupation but buy saying it he hopes to fool people into thinking he supports a palastinian state, while never voting for one."

    I strongly refute the suggestion that I am only pretending to support negotiations while secretly nurturing the certain hope that the negotiations will fail. I believe that Mr Clegg could refute such a suggestion with equal vigour. I passionately believe that it is necessary (and achievable) to negotiate a two-state solution that would create a viable State of Palestine living alongside a secure State of Israel. I have often voted for motions that say precisely that; i.e. I have indeed voted for a Palestinian state.

    You write: "It was a principled abstention - it was done to vote against a palastinian state while at the same time pretending he was 100 for israel." If I thought that a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians at the UN would achieve anything, I would support it; since I consider such a declaration to be counter-productive, I oppose it (as did the King of Jordan and the Secretary-General of the Arab League).

    Why would the UK "vote against a palastinian state while at the same time pretending he was 100 for israel"? That would surely mean that we were being anti-Palestinian and pretending to be pro-Israeli, and thus were secretly against both sides? I don't get it. Please explain. And have you read: http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/58039/hague-hedges-middle-east-marks-a-new-era

    You write: "It is also in the interests of the entire international community to stop Israel building settlements I dont see clegg imposing santions on israel do u.....wonder why?" Maybe it is because he does not believe that such sanctions would achieve anything either for Israel or the Palestinians?

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  34. You said, Who says that Israel or any other country is allowed to have nuclear weapons? Some would argue that no country should be allowed to have nuclear weapons. The UK, Israel and China already have nuclear weapons, so it is too late to prevent those countries from acquiring them; it is not too late in the case of Iran.

    It does not make it right though does it, we punish Iran for building nuclear weapons but not Israel who already has done it.


    You said, I strongly refute the suggestion that I am only pretending to support negotiations while secretly nurturing the certain hope that the negotiations will fail. I believe that Mr Clegg could refute such a suggestion with equal vigour. I passionately believe that it is necessary (and achievable) to negotiate a two-state solution that would create a viable State of Palestine living alongside a secure State of Israel. I have often voted for motions that say precisely that; i.e. I have indeed voted for a Palestinian state.

    Voteing for a palastinian state outside the UN security is one thing,the only vote that really matters, is voting for it at the UN security counil, which Lib Dems, despite claiming they are in favour of a Palastinian state have never done.

    You said, Why would the UK "vote against a palastinian state while at the same time pretending he was 100 for israel"? That would surely mean that we were being anti-Palestinian and pretending to be pro-Israeli, and thus were secretly against both sides? I don't get it.

    The Lib dems (leadership at least) are against a palastinian state but they are pro israel hence the very many pro israel and anti palastinains motions passed this year which Ihave mentioned....eg vote against a palastinan state, palastinian membership of unesco....eg

    You said, You write: "It is also in the interests of the entire international community to stop Israel building settlements I dont see clegg imposing santions on israel do u.....wonder why?" Maybe it is because he does not believe that such sanctions would achieve anything either for Israel or the Palestinians?

    No - he does it because he does not want to punish Israel and be seen taking a palastinian stance.....

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  35. I do not believe that it would be good for the peace of the world for Iran to have nuclear weapons, so I support sanctions and diplomatic pressure to prevent such an outcome. I support negotiations to create a viable Palestinian state that will live peacefully alongside a secure Stat of Israel. I do not believe that imposing sanctions on either the Israelis or the Palestinians would contribute anything to the cause of peace.

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  36. Of course you don't, because with out santions on israel, israel will continue to build settlements.....

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  37. So do you also favour sanctions against China for its occupation of Tibet? Or are you one of those people who is only interested in the suffering of Palestinian people, without caring equally about other people who are suffering as much as, if not more than, Palestinian people?

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  38. I have spoken out many times against China's occupation of Tibet, but that does not excuse Israel does it.

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  39. I understand the Israeli ambassador is calling Nick Clegg a good friend of Israel, I bet he is. His coalition voted against a palastinian state, voted not to let the Palastinians join the UNESCO, sending a battleship of the coast of iran, voted against santions on israel....etc

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  40. Israel apartheid in action Supreme Court upholds ban on Palestinians living with Israeli spouses http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/supreme-court-upholds-ban-on-palestinians-living-with-israeli-spouses-1.406812

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  41. You say that China's occupation of Tibet does not "excuse Israel" - excuse Israel for what? So, do you favour sanctions against China, as well as favouring sanctions against Israel - and if not, why not?

    When has there been a vote on sanctions against Israel? When did the Coalition vote against a Palestinian state? When did the UK vote not to let the Palestinians join UNESCO? When did the UK send a battleship to the coast of Iran? Can you please provide weblinks to news stories about each of those things?

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  42. I've just read that Haaretz story that you posted. If I was an Israeli Supreme Court Justice (which is unlikely, as I am neither Israeli nor a lawyer), I think that I might have voted with the minority against the decision to uphold the law. The fact that something might be a bad law doesn't make it "apartheid". Some people don't like some of the UK's laws relating to spouses from overseas (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2724158.ece), but that does not mean that the UK is guilty of "apartheid". Apartheid in South Africa was "a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race". There is no such system in Israel.

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  43. Ludford urging the EU not to vote for a Palastinian state again http://www.michaeltheurer.eu/presse/MEP_Letter_on_UDI_11_07_2011.pdf

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    1. Thanks for posting that letter written by Sarah Ludford and other MEPs from a range of parties. It is an excellent re-statement of why there must be a negotiated two-state solution that will bring peace, justice and security to Palestinians and Israelis alike. It eloquently explains why a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence at the UN is not helpful to the cause of peace.

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    2. No - its a wonderful example of Ludford and others doing what they do best - tell everybody they are favour of a Palastinian state then do what they can to prevent it.The idea that a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence at the UN is not helpful to the cause of peace is absurd its just a way of supporting israels racist and brutal occupation while pretending they are now

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  44. President Abbas arrives in UK shortly.....things you can expect to see, Clegg telling people he is in favour of a palastinian state and against israeli settlements but doing sod all about it

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    1. I have already blogged welcoming the UK's support for the Israel/Palestine peace process (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew-harris/israel-palestine_b_1199873.html), which includes visits this week to the UK by President Abbas and the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister. The UK Government is doing what it can to nudge the parties towards talks - good. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/62054/nick-clegg-israels-settlements-are-deliberate-vandalism is one report of Nick Clegg's joint press conference with President Abbas.

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  45. It's all very well Clegg saying he is against settlements he needs to do somthing about it......i would sugest imposing santions on any bank or business that does business with Israel

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  46. Palastinian banks, as well you know, have to do business with Israel because of the occupation. You willingness to support Israel's brutal occupation, while pretending to be against it, is quite sickening Harris.

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    1. How does my support for strong Palestinian banks (http://www.bankofpalestine.com/index.php?lang=en) and businesses equate to what you call my "support (for)Israel's brutal occupation"? Surely you know of the efforts that are being made to enhance economic co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis? http://www.portlandtrust.org/ Are you OPPOSED to such efforts?

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  47. I am opposed to any efforts which seeks (as you do) to prevent santions being imposed on Israel for its racist and brutal occupation,while hiding behind words like peace talks, co-operation which are designed soley for the purpose of allowing Israel to maintain its occupation while taking no steps against it. I note by the way you support santions against Iran.....amazing how u always support santions against muslim states isn't it Harris

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    1. I also, as a teenager, supported sanctions against South Africa - is South Africa a Muslim state? I support sanctions against Iran, but do not currently support sanctions against any other state, Muslim or otherwise. Apart from Iran, when have I ever called for sanctions against any Muslim state? Do you, meanwhile, support sanctions against every state whose human rights record you might question, or only against Israel? Incidentally, far from doing nothing to help the Palestinians and Israelis to achieve peace, I am (for what it's worth) an active British campaigner for precisely that. I am actually proud of certain things that I have achieved, including things that I cannot talk about as they involve my private dealings with various people who are involved in different ways - and I don't care if that sounds pompous, as it happens to be true? What, however, have you done, apart from posting angry comments on various blogs?

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  48. I've done what every peace campaigner have done: I've campiagned for santions to be put on israel until it ends its brutal occupation - funny how you are against santions on israel but support it on muslim Iran......sounds like islamaphobia to me

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    1. So when I believed in sanctions against South Africa but not sanctions against Israel, did that make me anti-South African in some way? By your completely mistaken logic, anyone who supports sanctions against Israel but does not support sanctions against Iran is an anti-Semite. I do not make such an accusation. My support for sanctions against Iran has nothing to do with its being a Muslim country. Pakistan is a Muslim country that has nuclear weapons and I do not campaign for sanctions against Pakistan.

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