Sayeeda Warsi and the Selling Out of Palestine


Lady Warsi was asked yesterday about the exact moment she made up her mind to resign from the Tory-led government over its policy (or perhaps more accurately, non-policy) on Gaza. She replied:

“There were many moments. Every time a school was bombed. Every time you saw a picture of Gaza with no lights at night. Every time a child about the age of my own children was killed. The moment when young boys playing football on the beach were suddenly there no longer.”

It was a heartfelt and powerful response from a gutsy lady who has repeatedly shown over the years that she is nobody’s poodle.

I first met Sayeeda Warsi in 2006, just a year after she had very narrowly failed to win the Dewsbury seat in the 2005 General Election. She had come down to East London to attend a Muslim event. Sitting next to her for dinner I was impressed at how outspoken she was in her comments. She came across as bright and sassy.

The last time I saw her was just a few months ago. I was on a train to Reading on my way to fix an issue with a Cisco switch there (we had lost management access to it so I couldn’t do it remotely). While on the train I heard an unmistakeable Yorkshire accent just behind me across the aisle. I peered over, and sure enough, it was Lady Warsi chatting away with a civil servant. She motioned me over and explained that she was on her way (to Bristol I think) to talk about women and faith. It was part of her brief as a Minister in the Foreign Office. We chatted for a bit. I expressed sympathy for the attacks she had suffered a couple of years ago when some Tory big guns were clearly out to boot her off her then position as the Co-Chair of the Conservative Party. I wrote about those attacks here on this blog at the time. She said that those attacks had now died down after they had managed to get her demoted. We then discussed some personal matters we had in common.

So, it was heartening to see her speak out so clearly and forcefully yesterday saying that the government’s position on Gaza was “morally indefensible.” It is absolutely inconceivable that the Prime Minister David Cameron would have responded in the mealy mouthed way he has to date about the horror in Gaza if it had been over two thousand Israelis that had been killed instead of Palestinians. The government’s response to the situation in Gaza has been transparently racist.

The good news is that Lady Warsi’s resignation has led to other politicians now coming out much more vocally to distance themselves from Cameron’s shameful response to Gaza. The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has called for an arms embargo on Israel. Closer to London, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has sided with Lady Warsi, and has said he agrees with her call to ban arms licenses to Israel.

Lady Warsi was arguably able to stand up to the government because she is not dependent on the government for her career. Prior to being ennobled in 2007, she was a successful solicitor.

The contrast with some of today’s Muslim organisations is clear. I mentioned here a couple of years ago how some Muslim organisations had effectively sold out their independence in exchange for grants from the government. They had full-time ‘Chief Executives’ whose salaries were being paid by the government. Some of their leading figures sent messages to their members about how excited they were about meeting the Queen. One of them even posted a twitter message just two weeks ago (now apparently deleted) asking why Hamas were firing rockets at Israel. It could have been straight out of an Israeli propaganda manual: do not focus on actions of the oppressor but ask ridiculous questions of the oppressed. Others have re-branded themselves as ‘Counter Extremist’ specialists and have begun launching unfair attacks on the MCB. How desperately sad.

They should take a leaf out of Lady Warsi’s book and go and get themselves a real career so that they do not need to debase themselves in such a shameful way.

On a more positive note, the demonstrations for Gaza over the past few weeks have been incredible. It has been so inspiring to see a younger generation of Muslims actively using social media to rally others and demand that the government adopt a more even-handed and just policy.

After Britain so disgracefully signed away the land of the Palestinians to the Jews in the infamous Balfour Declaration – it is the very least that we could do.

This entry was posted in Extremism, Islam, islamophobia, Zionism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sayeeda Warsi and the Selling Out of Palestine

  1. Tariq Nelson says:

    Some of ISB’s comments at Living Islam camp, and the subsequent clarifications on Gaza also desperately sad.

  2. Zareen says:

    ISB and YM, the new Quilliam.


    Recently returned from the Living Islam Festival organised by the ‘Islamic Society of Britain’ and ‘Young Muslims’.

    1/ Shocked to find the place crawling with Army, Navy and Air Force.

    They had about 13 sessions over the 4 days, including 2 large ones.

    Most Muslims and non-Muslims alike are still angry with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    We know that Bush and his ‘wormtongue’, lickspittle Blair lied and lied to trick ordinary people into supporting the immoral war on Iraq. Even at the time Blair’s facts were ‘dodgy dossiers’ desperately hacked from the internet and weapons inspectors themselves insisted that there were no ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

    Not surprising then that the UN Secretary General himself defined the war as illegal.

    According to the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal starting an aggressive war is the supreme War Crime, but then we come to the torture; Bagram Airbase and Abu Ghraib prison will forever be linked with US and British torture.

    Followed by the horrendous war-crime of the attack on Fallujah, then the continuing horror of birth defects and genetic mutations which continue there.

    The list of horrors continues; the bombing of Wedding parties, execution of prisoners, murder of unarmed civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure etc etc

    Inviting the Military to this event signals that you support those crimes, or at the very least don’t care.

    But shocking as those adult sessions were what was truly unforgivable were the children’s sessions; how many parents realised that when packing their children off to a ‘nice Muslim festival’ their children, as young as 11 or 12, would be the victims of propaganda sessions with soldiers encouraging them to join the Army?

    2/ With yet another ongoing massacre in Gaza one might have expected a workshop with the ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ or ‘Friends of al Aqsa’.

    No chance.

    But there were 2 official ISB events with ‘OneVoice’, or should that be ‘One Israeli Voice’.

    I came in at the end of a presentation by Sharon Alsoodani, their ‘Education Director and General Manager’ for Europe.

    She was talking about ‘return’ of Jews to Palestine, when I (forcefully) pointed out that there was no ‘return’, as the Romans never expelled the Jews from Palestine (only Jerusalem) – there was even a BBC program, which showed the archaeological evidence.

    She agreed with the ‘Right of Return’, but rejected actually allowing the expelled Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land! Arguing it could cause ‘violence’.

    Don’t you prefer the ‘honest racist’ who says straight out that allowing refugees to return to their homes would change the racist ‘Jewish nature’ of the state?

    I also had to refute the claim that the creation of Israel was like that of Pakistan. Pakistan was created only if a Muslim majority state voted for it, there was no pre-existing plan to expel a population and steal their land. Israel, however, was created in a Palestinian majority area by the planned murder and violent expulsion of the native population.

    A couple of days later I caught the beginning of her presentation; she started by mentioning the ‘escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel’!

    Only a bigoted Zionist could described the ferocious bombardment by land, sea and air of a virtually unarmed, imprisoned refugee population; their hospitals and homes; and the subsequent deaths of 2,000 Palestinian men, women and children by the 4th most powerful army in the world in that obscene manner.

    It is typical Zionist propaganda to equate the victims with the mass-murderers

    Starting with that statement and her having been accompanied by a Quilliam member, I should have expected things to get worse – and sadly they did.

    Her ‘history’ started with the Balfour Declaration and the ‘attack by arab armies’!

    No mention of the historical Palestinian presence, their election of Palestinian MPs sent to the Ottoman parliament, the British promise of arab independence, the plot by Zionists to take Palestine, the League of Nations principal of self-determination, the illegal Jewish immigration, and the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians which started well before a single ‘arab’ soldier ever set foot in Palestine at the end of the Mandate.

    Even the infamous massacre of Deir Yassein happened before the end of the British Mandate and the arrival of the so called ‘arab armies’.


    You are judged by the company you keep and the groups you promote.

    The organisers of the Living Islam Festival are out of touch with ordinary Muslims and basic Islamic ethics, morality and justice.

    Quilliam are ridiculed precisely because they support Israel and our own Government in their illegal and immoral wars. In return they have been paid a lot of money.


  3. Brendan says:

    Inayat, you write :’on a more positive note, the demonstrations for Gaza over the past few weeks have been incredible’ I agree they have been remarkable, especially on Twitter, the relentless commitment to narrative has been 24/7. What I cannot understand is how this issue above all else seems to arouse Muslims. I’ve just listened to an Iraqi female MP in tears reporting to her Parliament the death of 70 babies by starvation and thirst in the mountains of Northern Iraq as a direct result of the actions of the IS (‘Islamic State’) and the potential annihilation of 40,000 more people yet there seems to be a deafening silence among those who urged the whole world to focus on nothing but the suffering in Gaza. Answers on a postcard I suppose ….?

  4. Brendan: The horrible mess we are now seeing Iraq is a consequence of the decision of the US and UK to wage an illegal war against Iraq in 2003. That war was strongly opposed by the overwhelming majority of UK Muslims. They bear no responsibility for the tragedy in that country. Our government does. As it also does in Palestine which the UK government promised the Jews in 1917 in the Balfour Declaration – one of the most odious and ill-judged actions of the 20th century.

  5. Brendan says:

    So your saying ‘we’ the Brits via our various governments down the years are responsible for both these situations whereas Muslims in general bear no responsibility for ether yet Muslims only seem to want the world to be interested in of them at the moment ? I just don’t get it… but I agree hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  6. LibertyPhile says:

    “…. Palestine which the UK government promised the Jews in 1917 in the Balfour Declaration – one of the most odious and ill-judged actions of the 20th century.”

    There were, of course, a lot of Jews living in Palestine at that time. They had been there since long before the Islamic conquests. And, the idea of more coming, and even becoming self-governing, is not as outrageous as you claim.

    There were several plans, proposals, for partition (or sharing) Palestine during the 20s/30s but nothing happened because the Muslim side always took the position it wanted 100 percent of everything. This is what has led to the situation we have today. And, religious fanaticism had a lot to do with it then as it does now.

    An Arab friend used to take every opportunity of telling me, that Baghdad was once the largest Jewish city in the Middle East. I don’t know if he was correct but I’m sure there were a lot of Jews there. And, I believe well over a million Jews, I’ve seen estimates of over three million, lost their homes, their “land”, when they fled or were kicked out of Muslim/Arab countries following the creation of Israel in 1948.

    This is another aspect of the problem which is ignored by Muslims. Population exchanges are not new and though they are very painful they may be the best way forward. I doubt there are any Muslims who feel strongly about the pain (the injustice suffered) of the Christian Greeks who were kicked out of Muslim Turkey. There are no refugee camps today for the 3-5 million refugees from both sides who switched countries as a result of India-Pakistan in 1947, or the 3 million ethnic-Germans evicted from Czechoslovakia in 1948.

    I can think of better things for the accolade “one of the most odious and ill-judged actions of the 20th century”.

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