Monday, 2 December 2013

Israel not alone in hypocrisy stakes

John Wight, in his excellent article, was correct to stress the hypocrisy of Israel (Morning Star,28/11/13), with the denial of the same rights it enjoys to its neighbours, and its obvious feeling of superiority over them, leading it to become the "greatest cause of instability in the region". However, can we not expect hypocrisy from our political leaders when the centenary commemorations for the start of World War One begin next year?
       Israel`s insistence that no other rival country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons, and that Syria expose its haul of chemical weapons to international inspectors, could have its parallels in the shape of Britain`s denial of any other country`s right to have a navy anywhere near as powerful as hers; the Tirpitz Navy Laws of 1898 caused Britain no problems until they included the construction of Dreadnoughts for the German navy. These were the early 20th century equivalent of nuclear weapons, battleships so powerful all others were rendered obsolete, and as long as the Brish navy was the only one with them, there was no problem. What followed, of course, was the famous naval race, which hugely contributed to the increased tension and rivalry between the two countries. It certainly brought out the worst in much of the British press, which saw Germany as a "barbaric" enemy, for having the nerve to want the same power at sea as Britannia. The cost of constantly building more ships rose to Trident-like proportions, at a time when the majority of the population lived in poverty.How much of this will be commemorated next year, or will the bulk of the celebratory material be conveniently focused on the Sarajevo assassination and the Balkan conflict? It`s hard to imagine that much attention will be paid to the role of this arms race, and the inevitable hatred brewed by the gutter press in the minds of the young men who volunteered in their thousands, gullibly believing the government when it proclaimed the war would be over by Christmas.
  Similarly, of course, the fact that an empire, gained largely by superior weaponry and an enthusiastic attitude to its usage, gave Britain a huge superiority when it came to trade, raw materials and cheap labour, can be likened to Israel`s encroachment of Palestinian land, which Jimmy Carter sees as "the primary obstacle" to peace.When other nations challenge the right to exploit land which doesn`t belong to them, protests are ignored, and when other countries copy, they are seen as threatening and have to be discouraged. So it was with France first, and then after the Entente Cordiale, with Germany,whose desire for a "place in the sun", like Britain`s, was greeted with horror. Will Britain`s alarmist approach to Germany, because she had imperial ambitions too similar for comfort, be remembered next year, as a major factor leading to the massive slaughter of innocents known as the First World War, or is it on a list of historical facts needing to be replaced?
   Israel rightly deserves to be described as "hypocritical", but she`s far from alone!

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