“Everyone in a democracy has the right to argue for their views and engage in public debate. But there is no equality when it comes to how the British government treats those who want to give physical support to Israel and those who want to do the same for the Palestinians. Such double standards feed resentment in Britain’s Muslim community at the government’s failure to recognise its legitimate grievances, as highlighted in yesterday’s report by the thinktank Demos.
“In recent months the media have reported on the recruitment of British Jews to fight in the Israeli army, now in its 40th year of occupation of Palestinian territory in defiance of international law and UN resolutions. Some are intending to emigrate; others to return to Britain after serving in the Israeli army. But we have not had a word of concern from the British government.
“In the Muslim community, however, the question is widely raised as to how British citizens can travel to another country and fight in its army of illegal occupation without any repercussions. Would that be the case if, say, a young Muslim or Briton of Palestinian origin travelled to the occupied Palestinian territories – let alone occupied Iraq – to protect his or her homeland or co-religionists? Of course not: such volunteers could expect to be arrested under this government’s anti-terrorism legislation as soon as they returned.”
Ismail Patel in the Guardian, 5 November 2006
No doubt Melanie Phillips will rally to the defence of British citizens who go to Israel to join the IDF and oppress the Palestinians. But then, I was forgetting, Phillips has stated emphatically that “British Jews do not serve in the Israeli army“.