Israel “the greatest single cause of the climate crisis” – ?!

JVL Introduction

On 26th June an article by Jonathan Freedland appeared in the Guardian offering gung-ho support to Keir Starmer for his decisive action in dismissing Rebecca Long-Bailey.

It opened with a bizarre story  – from 2007 no less but saved till now – of how Clare Short had named Israel as the greatest single cause of the climate crisis.

It was cited as an example of  “a cast of mind that sees the worst events in the world and determinedly puts Israel at the centre of them, even in defiance of the facts or basic common sense”.

Clare Short, in a letter published in the Guardian, expresses herself utterly bemused by Freedland’s story.

This article was originally published by the Guardan on Mon 6 Jul 2020. Read the original here.

Clarifying remarks made about Israel

Clare Short writes in response to an article by Jonathan Freedland

Of course, I have never suggested that Israel was “the greatest single cause of the climate crisis”. Wherever did Jonathan Freedland get such an idea from (The sacking of Long-Bailey shows that, at last, Labour is serious about antisemitism, 26 June)? Scraping through my memory, I now think I can see where this suggestion comes from.

Some years ago I had links with an organisation that commissioned a legal opinion that found that the EU was in breach of the provisions of its trade treaty with Israel. The treaty lays down that both parties must respect international norms and human rights. It provides a procedure to be invoked if either side breaches the treaty. Clearly Israel is in grave breach of international law, as was laid down in the international court of justice advisory opinion of 2004. These breaches are continuing as are frequent violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I attended a meeting in Brussels with European parliamentarians with whom we shared the legal opinion, in order to try to build up pressure for use of the trade treaty to hold Israel to international law. I presume that on that occasion I made arguments, that I often make, that facing the catastrophic challenge of climate change, we need the multilateral system to work and not to be undermined.

Israel should be held to account for its constant cruelties and breaches of international law. It is the EU, the UK, the US and many others who are failing to hold Israel to account and are therefore further undermining the multilateral system.

Antisemitism is a great evil that has inflicted endless suffering and culminated in one of the greatest crimes in human history. False claims of antisemitism to prevent Israel being held to account, as should any nation, are a misuse of the seriousness of the real history of antisemitism.

Clare Short
London

Comments (13)

  • Doug says:

    Vexatious claims of anti semitism should be treated as hate crimes and prosecuted

  • George Wilmers says:

    It is worth remarking that underneath the different, somewhat grim looking photo of Clare Short which appears at the top of the original Guardian publication of her letter, the caption reads, with all the typical disingenuousness we have come to expect from that paper:

    “ ‘Antisemitism is a great evil that has inflicted endless suffering and culminated in one of the greatest crimes in human history,’ writes Clare Short “

    omitting her crucial next sentence, and thereby neatly subverting the principal content of her letter for those who do not read as far as the final paragraph.

  • Peter Kirker says:

    Spare a thought for the obsessive Jonathan Freedland. Way back in 2007 he found in the Daily Telegraph something he might be able to use against Clare Short. But it wasn’t until 11 years later, in March 2018, that he found an opportunity. A propos of very little, he simply tweeted: “Mind you Clare Short did once argue that the route cause of global inaction on climate change was… Israel.” Just enough to warrant citing the article he’d taken to heart all those years ago. And it was to be another two years before he could get back to his obsession again, in that risible piece last month.
    But that should be the end of it. The Guardian readers’ editor will have had such a torrid time fending off Short’s legitimate grievance that Freedland has surely been asked gently to move on.
    As for the feeble tale he clung to for 13 years, it’s here:
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/jews-portrayed-as-guilty-again/news-story/a8ec85456787fab7b85fa21997dc48ce?sv=e591ff72fa04ceea210d7c973cc73b4a

  • RH says:

    Question : Is stating that Freedland is an ubiquitous, but lousy, partisan journalist prone to egregious distortion an example of an anti-semitic trope in current terms of definition?

  • Linda Edmondson says:

    I had hoped that Freedland had been warned off the antisemitism topic by his editor, but there he was, back on his favourite theme. The publication of Clare Short’s letter was a welcome surprise, though it was hardly kind of the Guardian to publish it under an unflattering photo of her. I’ve begun to wonder whether Freedland has become a bit deranged recently; his Guardian piece seems to confirm it. Thank you, JVL for posting Short’s letter and for finding a more familiar and attractive photo to preface it. And talking of photos, it’s high time Freedland had a more up to date photo of himself, showing him as he is now, rather than umpteen years ago.

  • Tony says:

    I wonder why it took such a long time to publish her letter of reply.

  • John Wattis says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I found Freedland’s accusation hard to believe

  • Tony Riley says:

    To be fair, unless those wicked Zionists have been tampering with her Wikipedia page, she has certainly said some appalling rubbish about Israel:

    Statements on Israel:

    Short speaking at a rally in Birmingham in January 2009, urging the crowd “not forget the crimes being committed against the people of Gaza” following the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.

    Short has condemned Israel as being guilty of “bloody, brutal and systematic annexation of land, destruction of homes and the deliberate creation of an apartheid system.”

    She has also stated that “the EU and Britain are colluding in this operation and the building of a new apartheid regime” because they give Israel privileged trade access.

    Short has expressed support for a boycott of Israel, stating at the 2007 United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace that “The boycott worked for South Africa, it is time to do it again”.

    She also told the conference that Israel is “much worse than the original apartheid state” and that Israel “undermines the international community’s reaction to global warming”.

    This also crops up on Wikipedia:

    Relationship with al-Manar Television:

    According to The Guardian, Short accepted £1,580 worth of flights, hotel accommodation, food and travel expenses from al-Manar Television in Lebanon in 2008. Al-Manar is described by the US government as “the media arm of the Hezbollah terrorist network”, and was classed as a specially designated terrorist entity by the US in 2006.

    Short said her trip had been registered with Commons authorities and that the visit allowed her to see how reconstruction in southern Lebanon was proceeding after the country’s conflict with Israel in 2006.

    Yet she didn’t visit Israel to see how reconstruction was proceeding after Hezbollah fired thousands of missiles into the north of Israel.

    She’s a ridiculous apologist.

  • Anne says:

    One could justifiably say that any warmongering – and any manufacture/supply of weaponry used in war – promotes climate crisis.

    How much heat, carbon, toxins and pollution are caused by the average war? Strangely, this obvious factor is never mentioned, though we’re told that emissions from wood-burning stoves are a problem.

  • RC says:

    The ridiculous imperialist apologist Tony Riley cites some excellent comments made by Clare Short. His naive faith in ‘terrorism’ descriptions of popular and elected (albeit reactionary) movements such as Hezbollah assumes blind belief in the bona fides of the US, the greatest terrorist power currently – not that Israel is a slouch in the terrorist stakes, as vouched for in Thomas Suarez’ State of Terror.

  • Anne says:

    One could justifiably say that any warmongering, or manufacture/supply of weaponry promotes Cimate Crisis.

    How much heat, carbon, greenhouse gas, toxins, pollution are caused by the average war? Strangely, those obvious factors are rarely – if ever- considered; though we are told that emissions from wood-burning stoves are a serious problem.

  • Billie Dale Wakefield says:

    Tony it is you a self confessed apologist for Israel with a Jonathan Freedland capacity to see things completely differently to others, twisting the truth in the same way, from your viewpoint, and not from the viewpoint of what actually happened, willing to put into others mouths your own idea of what they meant, instead of actually hearing what they actually said.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Tony Riley said:

    ‘According to The Guardian, Short accepted £1,580 worth of flights, hotel accommodation, food and travel expenses from al-Manar Television in Lebanon in 2008. Al-Manar is described by the US government as “the media arm of the Hezbollah terrorist network”, and was classed as a specially designated terrorist entity by the US in 2006.’

    So the biggest terrorists on the planet by a country mile designated Al-Manar as a terrorist entity, did they. How very interesting!

    Yes, I always suspected she was a terrorist sympathiser, just like that Jeremy Corbyn. And the rest of the left!

Comments are now closed.