LONDON, United Kingdom — Yasmin Qureshi, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Bolton South East in the North of England, has slammed the State of Israel in an absurd attack during a Westminster Hall debate in the British Parliament.
Pakistani-born Qureshi is a long-standing critic of the State of Israel, which most people know was founded in 1948 not as a direct result of the Holocaust but because of a historic Jewish link to the land. The Balfour Declaration, which established British support for the establishment of the Jewish State in what would soon become the British Mandate of Palestine, was issued in 1917.
But that doesn’t stop Qureshi and her fellows from seeking to hinge the entire notion of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East on the events in 1930s Europe. For them, this makes Israel easier to attack, especially using their offensive logic in comparing the situation in Gaza to the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews across Europe.
After disgracefully shouting down a fellow Member of Parliament during the debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Qureshi took her time to accuse Israel of its own Holocaust against the Palestinians: a fatuous and glaringly offensive statement when you consider the realities, rather than the propaganda. Qureshi claimed:
What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land–everything–were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.
Qureshi’s statements are not dissimilar to those of Liberal Democrat David Ward MP, who was suspended from his party last year after I publicly accused him of both anti-Semitism, which he so glaringly displayed, and insensitive comments about the Holocaust.
This isn’t Qureshi’s first time out of the anti-Israel block, and from what I hear, pressure is mounting on her party leadership to take action. What is really at play here is not necessarily out-right nastiness, but a level of ignorance that no Member of Parliament should be able to get away with, especially having visiting Auschwitz.
In November 2012, when I was in Jerusalem as air-raid sirens sounded during the latest conflict between Israel and Gaza-based terrorists, Qureshi tweeted from the comfort of the Palace of Westminster, “Israeli [sic] is pounding gaza with thousands of missiles which are lethal unlike Hamas home made few rockets.”
Setting aside the blatant propaganda involved in claiming that Israel was “pounding Gaza with thousands of missiles” (in fact, Israel conducted hundreds of surgical strikes in an attempt to minimise collateral damage), the underlying message from Qureshi was that Hamas’ Fajr-5 rockets, recently provided by the Iranian regime, were “home made” and “few” in number. This is both a complete falsehood and an apparent defence of launching assaults on civilian targets as long as it is with home made missiles, and even then, only a few at a time.
This level of misleading discourse should have been enough to have Qureshi hauled in front of her party leadership, or indeed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for actively trotting out the lies of a terrorist organisation.
It wouldn’t be the first time Qureshi has given succor to controversial groups or people. In 2011, she agreed to share a platform with Raed Salah for the one-state solution ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ group. Salah is the leader of the northern branch of the ‘Islamic Movement in Israel’. He has been convicted of funding Hamas, and has invoked the blood libel against the Jewish people.
But Qureshi gave the game away early on in the debate on Wednesday, when she rudely interrupted one of her colleagues, James Clappison MP, when he stated: “I do not believe, and will not be persuaded, that the state of Israel has any interest in imposing the present conditions on the people of Gaza for the sake of it.”
“Come off it!”, she heckled, as if to imply that she does believe that Israel’s reaction to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza is simply “for the sake of it”. But Clappison shot back: “Honourable Members need to contain themselves”.
He’s right. And if they cannot, then their party leadership should certainly do it for them.