At Large

Cameron’s Flotilla Folly

The new British prime minister chooses Turkey and Hamas over Israel.

By 7.29.10

If there was any doubt as to where Britain's Tory led government stood with regard to Israel it was removed when Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit to Turkey to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and announce his support for Turkey's bid to enter to the European Union. During this same visit, Cameron also described the Gaza Strip as "a prison camp."

It was a rather daft observation on the part of Cameron, especially when one considers the luxurious mall opened earlier this month in Gaza. This isn't to say that life in Gaza is all strawberries and cream. But that Cameron would pillory Israel while holding the Hamas-run government blameless in this state of affairs is very telling indeed.

By simultaneously describing Gaza as a prison camp on and endorsing Turkish entry into the EU while on Turkish soil, Cameron effectively endorsed Turkey's efforts to break Israel's blockade on Gaza through the flotilla campaign. In so doing, Cameron has for all intents and purposes declared that Israel has no right to defend itself. "The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable," said Cameron.

To borrow an English term, Cameron's statement is absolute bollocks. For Cameron to suggest that Israel wantonly launched an unprovoked attack the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 is an act of defamation. IDF forces instructed the Mavi Marmara to dock in the port of Ashdod where goods would be inspected and any humanitarian supplies would be sent to Gaza through a convoy of trucks. The Mavi Marmara told the IDF to "Go back to Auschwitz."

When the Mavi Marmara made it clear it would proceed to Gaza come hell or high water, Israel was left with no choice but to board the ship. It was only after Israeli troops were bombarded with metal bars, stabbed and had grenades thrown at them that they opened fire, killing nine of their attackers. Had the Mavi Marmara complied with Israel's request (as had the five other ships accompanying Mavi Marmara) there would have been no loss of life. Therefore, those aboard the Mavi Marmara have only themselves and the Turkish government to blame in their pursuit of martyrdom.

Let's put it another way. What if the IRA had suddenly resumed engaging in terrorist activities and had embarked on a campaign to send flotillas to Northern Ireland full of weaponry to be used against British civilians and Irish Protestant activists under the guise of a humanitarian mission? What if a Royal Navy commander had instructed the IRA flotilla to dock in the Welsh port of Holyhead instead of Belfast? What if the IRA flotilla told the Royal Navy commander, "Death to the Queen!!!"? Do you think for a moment that David Cameron would hesitate in sending Her Majesty's Armed Forces aboard an IRA flotilla? And if those aboard the IRA flotilla were to have attacked British soldiers with metal bars, knives and grenades, would he have expected those men not to defend themselves? Not on your bloody life.

Cameron's apparent ignorance of the intentions of those aboard the flotilla is baffling when one considers the recent statements of former British Prime Minister and now Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair. When a Lebanese flotilla announced plans to set sail for Gaza last week Blair said, "Such convoys are not helpful, do not resolve the economic difficulties in Gaza and carry the risk of escalation needlessly."

Yet on the other hand Blair is no longer subject to the pressures of elected office. The same cannot be said for Cameron. It's simple mathematics really. In the 2001 Census, there were nearly six times as many Muslims as there were Jews in the United Kingdom. There's every reason to believe the gap between the number of Muslims and Jews in the U.K. will only widen with the results of the next census which is set to take place next year.

One must also consider the assertiveness of Britain's Muslim community with regard to the imposition of Sharia law in the land of the Magna Carta. As of June 2009, there were 85 Sharia courts operating in the United Kingdom and their decisions are legally binding. But for many British Muslims that isn't enough. They want all Britons to be subject to Sharia law.

So when British Muslims are demonstrating outside of Number 10 Downing Street for Sharia law do you think David Cameron is more likely to support the aspirations of a Muslim country like Turkey (which under Erdogan is moving away from secularism) or is he more likely to stick his neck out for the world's only Jewish state?

Under the circumstances, it is more politically expedient for Cameron to vilify Israel and support Turkish entry into the EU even as it acts as a sponsor for terrorism against Israel while ignoring the transgressions of Hamas. Suffice it to say, this isn't Britain's finest hour.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.