The picture says it all: a hesitant Prime Minister smiles timidly as he stands behind the cat-that-got-the-cream smugness of Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle. Pollard looks like he just won Cameron in a raffle.
Just days before the election Cameron appears to be clutching at straws which is already owns. In an interview today (Thursday), he does a U-turn what he said about Gaza in 2010 and defends Israel’s attack on the tiny enclave last summer which resulted in the death of over 2,000 Gazans, including 550 children.
Thousands more were wounded and hundreds of thousands remain homeless after their homes were reduced to rubble – not by an earthquake but by Israeli bombs, drones, missiles and shells. As we now know, Israeli soldiers were under instructions to kill indiscriminately in spite of official denials.
They are, of course, not mentioned by Cameron, nor is the fact that the number of Israel’s civilian casualties was, er, three. What he does, though, is revert to his campaign tactic of repeating certain words mantra-like. Remember the catchy “Long Term Economic Plan” and “Miliband Chaos”?
This time, the mantra is – ironically – “indiscriminate”,, but it is used half a dozen times to describe Hamas’s attacks on Israel. These were indeed indiscriminate, in the sense that they were too primitive to aim accurately, hence their failure to do much damage. Israel, quoth Cameron, has the right “to defend itself”, with weapons accurate enough to flatten tower blocks of flats and blow up four kids playing football on the beach.
Why this has happened is another mystery. Weeks before his interview the Jewish Chronicle published a poll showing that over two thirds of Jewish voters would support David Cameron – a very sharp change from 2010 where the two main parties were neck-and-neck. The Conservative Friends of Israel, who hold many of the party’s purse strings, regard Cameron as “the most pro-Israel prime minister in British history.”
Miliband, on the other hand, stands condemned of putting the interests of his own country above those of a foreign state. As a Jew he will not be forgiven – by Jews – for prioritising trivial matters like the NHS and £multi-billion tax avoidance over blind support for Israel. Not to mention the Scottish Nationalists, who actually – good grief! – support a Palestinian state and an end to the settlements and the apartheid status of the West Bank.
“Historically”, says Anshel Pfeffer of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, “the majority of British Jews supported Labour because they saw the left wing as staunch opponents of any form of racism, of which they were so often the targets. In the last quarter of the 20th century, as they became better integrated and wealthier, they began drifting toward the Conservatives.” Thatcher’s Jewish ministers and confidantes and Blair’s Jewish cronies created voting shifts based on “who is best for Israel?” rather that “who is best for Britain?”
This might explain Cameron’s about-face and humble kowtowing to the pro-Israelis – were it not for the fact that the Jewish Community makes up a mere 0.5 per cent of the electorate of this country, with the ability to swing no more than a handful of constituencies. Or has the financial grip of Jewish donors become a stranglehold?
It’s a mystery.