The British are bashing! The British are bashing!

By Bruce S. Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker

PHILADELPHIA –This is a tale of two David Camerons. Each of them is known as the prime minister of Britain and leader of the Conservative Party.

There is the David Cameron who proclaims himself a “Conservative Friend of Israel” on the Web site of Conservative Friends of Israel, which promotes support for Israel and conservative ideas in Britain.

Then there is the other David Cameron who bashed Israel and European leaders during his visit to Turkey on Tuesday, July 27, and met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This David Cameron uttered these words about Israel:

“The situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp…The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable. I have told prime minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change.”

The Guardian, a London daily newspaper, suggests that Cameron’s hissy fit amounted to an overheated intensification of past criticisms of Israel. Cameron told the House of Commons on June 28: “Everybody knows that we are not going to sort out the problem of the Middle East peace process while there is, effectively, a giant open prison in Gaza.”

No mention of Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit’s four-year imprisonment in Gaza. Or Hamas’ rocket attacks, weapons smuggling and its pledge to destroy Israel. Or that Hamas murders, tortures and terrorizes its own people. Or that the flotilla committed an act of war by attempting to breach the blockade. Or that Turkish terrorists on the Mavi Marmora attacked Israeli commandos.

The Guardian also reported that he accused France and Germany of double standards for refusing Turkey membership in the European Union while expecting Turkey to guard Europe’s borders as a NATO member.

Of that situation, it turns out that Turkey operates a blockade of its own – against Cyprus.

Cameron forgets to mention that the EU has barred Turkey from membership partly because it denies ships from Cyprus entry to Turkish ports. Cyprus is an EU member and the northern part of the island is occupied by Turkey.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in the wake of a power struggle with Greece; Cyprus is populated mainly by ethnic Greeks and Turks, respectively 80 percent and 20 percent.

Most of us would have noticed if past British prime ministers attacked Israel so viciously. In fact, with their English accents and refined manner, who can imagine a British prime minister behaving in such an abrasive manner? Cameron’s words were so blunt he could not even sound ironic or sarcastic.

Cameron’s style – if you can call it a style – was pure bullying. To  He is intellectually dishonest and contradicts himself in a number of areas. Worse, his rant is downright dangerous.

Past prime ministers like Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, whose ideologies were far apart from one another, conducted themselves with a measure of class and decorum. Of course, their jobs were more stable. Cameron sounds like a desperate politician who expects to be in trouble in the next election. He must understand by now that his fellow Brits did not return the Conservative Party to power out of love for it.

The Conservatives exploited a set of circumstances to oust the Labor Party from controlling Parliament a few months ago. Fresh from their defeat, Labor leaders are carefully examining what went wrong. Cameron knows that continuation of Conservative power is by no means ensured in the next election.

One would think that the leader of the Conservative Party would be more supportive of Israel, or at least more careful with his words.

The Wall Street Journal relates this explanation from Wolfango Piccoli, analyst at Eurasia Group, a political-risk consultancy: “Support for Turkey is nothing new, but the economy is the bottom line. One of the aims of the Cameron administration is to raise the level of exports – and Turkey is part of that.”

At Israel’s expense, no less.

Perhaps the Liberal Democrats, his coalition partner, influenced him. Or he is mining votes among British Muslims. Maybe he hopes that liberal Britons will consider voting Conservative.

After this performance, how can Cameron make any claim to credibility? He is prime minister of one of the world’s greatest powers. Does he believe that his hypocrisy will go unnoticed?

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Bruce S Ticker is a Philadelphia freelance journalist

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