Scotland Stands with Gaza

Bszo3hNIEAAzf16.jpg large

I grew up with two influential political struggles that were a massive influence on me: the Miners Strike (1984/5) and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

One lost, one won. 

But the lesson learned from these movements wasn’t that political battles can be won and lost, but that Scotland can matter on an international stage. If the miner’s strike was all about solidarity, the anti-apartheid movement was about internationalism and universal justice through mass action.

Nelson Mandela was born on this day 18 July, in 1918. Today the Scottish Refugee Council celebrates Mandela’s legacy #MandelaDay and we reflect on Scotland’s role in the world, past, future and present. By Mike Small

Are Britain’s actions or inactions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine something you can be proud of? 

With at least half a million Palestinians (out of 1.8) being forced by Israel to evacuate their homes it’s worth reflecting who we’re being ‘Stronger Together’ for and how British foreign policy has shaped the world.

As the drones fly over Baghdad, and the full consequences of Blair’s disastrous war-torn terms in office become clear, as the most Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary since Viscount Halifax declared war in 1939 enters the Foreign Office, it’s clear that we need to Vote Yes join the world.

The No campaign relentlessly declares that only being part of Britain will we hold influence over the world. It’s a status that seems tied tightly to building warships and holding WMD. As examples from “Yo Blair” in 2006 to Cameron’s disastrous handling of European affairs recently, this high status is largely imaginary.

The myth of an alternative lay shattered with the dreams of Robin Cook’s ‘ethical foreign policy’. Britain, as a state, is institutionally committed to, and oriented around militarism.

My Hospital Has Vanished

The UK under Thatcher sided with the apartheid regime in the long 1980s and isolated us from the rest of the world. Now we stand isolated again side by side with the US supporting Israel as the massacre and atrocities in Gaza unfold before the world’s eyes. Today Israel is prepared to “significantly widen” its ground offensive against militants in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

Three days ago 5000 people protested about the BBC coverage of the conflict and a petition of 45000 has been delivered to the BBC leadership. Once again we see our national broadcaster fail in a crucial moment.

Is this how you want to be represented in the world? There were 42 airstrikes across last night, 200 tank shells, 110 naval shells. Reportedly “a terrible night” in the south. Channel 4 news report Ali Hassan says Gaza Wafa hospital was evacuated late last night. Then it was hit by 15-20 rockets and shells. “It has been obliterated” he said. “My hospital has vanished”.


This is the shocking truth about UK Foreign Policy, not just now, but down time, captured by special interests, oblivious to public opinion, immersed in war. It’s difficult to know how you deal with a country that kills children on a beach in front of hundreds of journalists? But outright condemnation, international pressure, isolation, citizen solidarity, aid, openness to refugees and any support necessary would be the direction you would expect from any rational democratic government in light of these events: see Horror on Gaza Beach by New York Times Photographer here.

Interviewed in 2005, David Cameron was asked why Conservatives should be friends of Israel. He replied:

Because Conservatives believe in supporting democracy, defending freedom and standing up against terrorism. Israel is in the front line in the international struggle against terrorist violence and we should show solidarity with all involved in that fight. Conservatives also recognize Israel’s unique position as a lone democracy in a region that currently boasts no others.

There’s no better way to honour Nelson Mandela than to stand by the occupied people of Gaza and the refugees of Israeli abuse than to vote for Scotland to take its place in the world, for the first time and offer a real alternative to British foreign policy.


Comments (0)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. bringiton says:

    Conservatives believe in Democracy…just not for Scotland or anywhere else that might get between them and a fast buck.

  2. Auld Rock says:

    After the horrors of Concentration Camps and the suffering of the Jewish people during WW2 I was very disappointed when Israel started mistreating the Arab mainly Muslim population. Their unjustifiable behavior was bound to bring about dissent but the UN by their lack of action did nothing to help. This led to the indiscriminate bombing of Israelis, then the illegal annexation of Arab land and on, and on it went. We now have Hamas firing off their non-targeted Skud missiles which are taken out by ‘The Iron Dome’ if they are predicted to hit civilian areas. So it comes as no surprise that Israel has started a ground campaign to find and eradicate these missiles. What we now have is the classic school playground ‘tit-for-tat’ situation where at the end of the day no one wins. What we now need is an intermediary of stature and who is held in high esteem by both sides to sit them down and bash a few heads together until they arrive at a solution acceptable to both sides and both sides must realise that this will mean each side making major concessions otherwise there will be no peace.

    I wish no harm to either side but I hold both of them responsible with the addition of the UN and Briton for the iniquitous Balfour Declaration post WW1. So when you protest please remember that it takes two to Tango.

    Auld Rock

    1. Illy says:

      Meh, the situation there is *really* *simple* once you stop to think about it from a historical perspective.

      Israel is a crusader state.

  3. Dean Richardson says:

    “An intermediary of stature who is held in high esteem by both sides…” Good luck with finding such a person.

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      That should have been a reply to Auld Rock’s post, 10:20.

      1. Auld Rock says:

        Dean, I couldn’t agree more but I live in hope of the old adage, “Come the hour, come the man/woman”. Though given the feeling towards by some combatants maybe it should be ‘man’.


  4. Abulhaq says:

    An Israeli family who talked to me before Hamas kicked off again considered the BBC “biased in favour of Palestinians”; A view from the other side. Hamas, an acronym of Islamic Resistance movement, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and is viscerally opposed to the very existence of the Jewish state. For them there is no “two state solution”, although under pressure certain factions have softened to the idea. The people of the region are truly sick of this on going proxy war and the systemic instability of Palestinian leadership pulled between political realism and religious militancy. Btw Syria before the uprisings was tentatively moving towards a possible “accommodation” with Israel and the new hope that gave was tangible. Palestinians provide an educated, and cheap, workforce for Arab states it is time they were free of internal and external manipulation and given peace. With the ultras and their “Caliph” offering a sharp blade to all who oppose them lurking in the background this is a scorpion’s nest the wise approach with caution. Secular Arab nationalism barely got off the ground before being highjacked by dictators, potentates, megalomaniacs and religious revivalists. The people of Gaza and the West Bank need a break from those too….not to mention Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain….
    In the MidEast life is cheap even at the best of times. Explains the infamous fatalism. Enjoy your demo but watch out for scorpions.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Sorry but I think what you have written is complete and utter nonsense. Nowhere in your post have you mentioned the illegal occupation by the Israeli state of Palestinian land. To be frank your post is like what we expect from the BBC on the issue, which of course is completely biased towards the Israeli state.

      1. Abulhaq says:

        Very easy for armchair observers to make sweeping statements of the kind. This is not black/white but a rather dirty grey. Both sides may claim history and persecution on their side. Suggest you read some history. Two thousands years of it to get your teeth into. You will find that the Levant has a very muddled history of indigenous peoples being deprived of “their land” by invaders, ethnic plantation, warlords, imperialists and the rest. Westerners, sadly, are just that bit too easy prey to edited and easy read versions of Mid East history. Honesty and fact tend to get buried in the sand along with blood, bones and hope. Perhaps you would care to offer a solution to the problem? Be assured this goes far beyond a confrontation of Israeli and Palestinian. As you will find out should you ان شاءالله do some reading. Plenty in English, no need to learn Arabic!

      2. muttley79 says:

        You are not a supporter of the Palestinian people’s right to a viable state are you? You never even mention that.

      3. Abulhaq says:

        A state for the Palestinian people is non-negotiable. I hope such an entity would be secular, in accord with the founding intellectual precepts of Arab nationalism which attempted to initiate some kind of civil society. I think, given the defensive mood in the ME, every one going “default”, that is unlikely to happen. Islamists and most moderates consider secularism a betrayal of Islam and consequently simply unthinkable. It is not something you meddle with. You just try as best you can to negotiate. Being a non-muslim in a Muslim state entails being a “cultural Muslim”. Millions of Christians and, before their expulsion, Jews understand/understood the concept. To experience is to understand. I understand too that the Israelis feel threatened. The fear in everyone’s heart is a generator of extremism. Its a total mess.

      4. muttley79 says:

        Why does a Palestinian state have to be secular, when Israel is not?

      5. Abulhaq says:

        Israel is nominally a secular state. It is also an ethnic Jewish state. Its founders were not religious in the usual sense but acknowledged the religious contribution, through the Torah and homelife religion makes to being Jewish. It is possible to be atheist and still be comfortable with such Jewishness.
        Attempts at creating an “Arab” version clash with Islam. To know why you need to research the subject. The constitution of a secular state would recognize the primacy of conscience, the right not to be Muslim yet still enjoy full rights of a citizen and in the case of Muslims who reject Islam the right not to be killed for apostasy. Turkey under Atatürk followed the French model of laïcité, a rigid version of secularism but has over the decades become markedly less so. Syria has a quasi secular constitution. Tunisia was militantly secular but has for pragmatic reasons made adjustments. Lebanon has a precarious balance between Christian, Sunni and Shi’ii with a growing but still marginalized secularist movement among intellectuals. The rest, including Egypt, are Islamic states with varying strengths of shari’a in the civil code. Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. Be thankful Scotland has rather more mundane issues to deal with.

  5. mikeinkwazi says:

    Reblogged this on mikeinkwazi and commented:
    Start by Not buying produce from Israel

  6. Robert Graham says:

    maybe if their big pal wasn’t the good old USA they would have to get on with their neighbours and treat people fairly in what’s become the biggest open air prison on earth, i know its not on the same level but anyone any info on security guards confiscating all scottish flags at last weekends T in the park this by order of our darling BBC ??

  7. What about isolating Israel in the same way that South Africa that other apartheid state was. Freeze them out of all sporting contacts as well as refusing to buy their produce. The fact is that whilst I agree not all Israelis are warmongers the state of Israel most certainly is! If any Country in the world should act in a humanitarian way and reject the way of the warmonger then that Country should be Israel. I am ashamed that the UK views Israel as an ally, yet another reason for Scots to vote yes.

  8. Clootie says:

    The day Israel became a nation it was attached, a co-ordinated attack, by six of it’s neighbours. The intent was to wipe it of the Earth the day it was created.
    The occupied lands were mainly held on the basis of defensive positions as the original “Israel” shape could not be effectively defended from the sustained attacks over decades.
    So we have a nation coming out of the Holocaust with the expectation that it was going to happen again.

    Now the above history and reaction is not the fault of the Palestinian People nor is it right for Israel to construct what is in effect a massive concentration camp. The reaction by Israel is often not balanced. However hiding rocket sites in built up areas is also wrong

    My point is this is not a one sided issue and to simply adopt a stance supporting one side is pointless. Comments like that of Dave Humphreys that ” …all Israelis are warmongers” cheapens the debate.

    People seem to forget the history of the UK and how the Empire was built. I don’t think we are in any position to comment when you look at London’ legacy – The entire World has suffered division due to the boundaries “imposed” by London.

    The modern version of the Empire is the USA. The want a strong Israel to “balance” the powers in the Middle East.

    I find it amazing that everyone has an opinion on Israel but ignores North Korea. What about the expansion policy of China.

    I’m with Auld Rock- sensible balanced assessment.

    1. Abulhaq says:

      The boundaries drawn by the imperialists on the sand of the Ottoman world are being brushed out by “Khalifa Ibrahim” and his helpers. All who disagree with his literal, textbook Islam are being “brushed out” too. In justified fear of this ultra-puritanical movement Israeli and Palestinian are uncomfortably united.

  9. Gordon says:

    The land was known as Palestine before the Jews were settled there after WWII against the wishes of the Arab League. The father of a school friend of mine was in the Palestine police. There was only a small population of Jews prior to this, along with some other ethnic groups. The majority were Palestinians. The Jews had been absent for 2000 years, but well-armed terrorist groups like the Irgun ethnically cleansed the areas that they wanted to settle. The terrorists then became the army of the new Jewish state and the theft of Palestinian land continued against a poorly armed opposition.
    As a Scot, I would die of shame if any part of my nation suffered the indignity of being corralled into what is effectively an overcrowded open prison without offering any opposition. If the Palestinians submitted meekly to their situation without opposition, they would deserve the contempt of the free world.
    I would point to an analogy, #Abulhaq, that happened in the occupation of France. If the French resistance killed any member of the occupying force in a French village, the men in the village were lined up and shot by the SS. This was known as ‘collective punishment’. Make of this what you will.
    By the way, neither Britain nor America can be an honest broker in any peace negotiations. They have the Jewish lobby to contend with.

    1. Abulhaq says:

      In the second half of the first millennium Islamised Arabic speaking Bedouin from the Arabian peninsula occupied the Levant displacing the Aramaic speaking peoples Christian, Jewish and pagan. Estates were seized and former owners expected to work the land. Ultimately the area went into decline. Later, Ottomans settled North African and Balkan Muslims in the area in an attempt to revive the economy. After that Jewish settlement was encouraged as they brought advanced agricultural methods with them. This is not as simple as some make out, Jew incomer v indigenous Arab. The name Palestine is archaic. It was used in Protestant bible maps to cover the region. The British, and the anti-semitic elements in the Foreign and Indian Offices promoted its use and were responsible for sowing seeds of ethnic tension. The Palestinian Arabs actually didn’t use the term until after 1968. Ironically, the self-styled “Islamic State” is actively persecuting, among many others, Aramaic/Syriac speaking people trapped in their territory. As for the “Jewish lobby”, that has the reek of the 1930s about it and implying parallels between Nazis and Israelis is insulting.

      1. Illy says:

        So if implying parrallels between one group of people persuing a regime of ethnic clensing and another group of people persuing a regime of ethnic clensing is “insulting” is stating it blatently ok?

        Israel was established in the aftermath of WW2 (over 60 years ago now), as far as I can tell, against the wishes of the natives of the area, since then they have turned the “native reserves” (the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) into some of the worst areas to live in the world, and continue to make the reserves smaller. They are supported by significant western powers in this (Israel is one of the largest benefactors of USA foreign aid in the world, mostly military, not sure about UK aid).

        And as far as I can tell, the whole Iraq fiasco was because they started looking like they might actually be able to kick Israel out of the area, and give it back to the natives.

        I think the best parrallel for Israel is the Crusader States that were the previous attempt by western Europe to conquer that area of the world. Look at the history, and it becomes pretty blatent.

        As far as I can tell, there are four options:

        “Don’t fight a land war in Asia” (ie. Get our feet out of the fire and let them sort it out themselves)

        Support the historical solution of getting rid of the crusader state. (I have nothing against Jews in the government of a free Palistine (in fact, given the length of time some of them have been living there (all their lives) it’s pretty much nessecary that that is seen as acceptable), but that’s the only way this is going to end peacefully, in the long term)

        Just wipe out the entire population of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (Isreal has already stated that this is the objective, so we might as well be honest about what people mean when they say that they support Israel)

        Solomon’s Solution: Nuke the pair of them.

      2. Abulhaq says:

        You know the MidEast well I presume?

  10. gonzalo1 says:

    The Palestinians really didn’t come into existence, or were recognised as such, until after 1948. Before then the land was mostly under the British mandate and they were regarded as Arabs, and the Arabs if you look at the map have rather a lot of land. Palestinians also faced horrible discrimination from other Arab countries in the area such as Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
    Israel is a small piece of land smaller than Wales and it has always been threatened by being wiped out of existence by its neighbours. If that happened, and I suspect many on the liberal left would be happy with that, then the area could settle down, prosper and live in peace for ever and ever. And pigs will fly.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.