The Drift Of Hugo Rifkind

Soraya Boyd & Clive Hambidge

Poor Hugo Rifkind has been drifting lately. He has said so much in an article for the Times (Tuesday 12 August 2014, Opinion, page 27). But do you get his drift? Does anyone get his drfit? What on earth is he drifting on about? Is it to do with Israel drifting rockets into Gaza and drifting propaganda into the world’s media and political institutions? Is it because he sees the lack of ‘drift’ in public opinion that recognises Israel’s illegal occupation and terrorisation of Palestinians in Gaza and and the West Bank. Is it because of the indiscriminate targeting of women and children in Gaza? Does this barbaric conduct not constitute a war crime? Certainly International Humanitarian Law is breached on a daily basis by Israel. And so because of this, we did not drfit, we marched because we know the facts and thus stand with every mother and father who have seen their sons and daughters targeted and slaughtered by the IDF.

Oh yes the media. This may be of interest to you Hugo. “Research shows that the Israeli Ambassador has received 2,000% more UK national press coverage than his Palestinian opposite number, ambassador Hassassian. Such bias does not give the British people a balanced perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the tragic events in the Palestinian territories. The non-reportage of Mr Hassassian is particularly regrettable because he is a voice of Palestinian moderation, peace and constructive dialogue…” (Green Party)

One thing is for certain Hugo is drifting in to a sea of factual and intellectual troubles as he pants in excitement that: “Israel is special because Israel is special. That’s the way it is”. Hugo likes that it makes him feel? Well we suppose special too. And “screw you” he rants if you don’t think Israel is special too. We get your drift Hugo and others like you. And like it or not, we stand on the right side of history, the Human Rights side of history. The Palestinians have the right to resist under International Law, the right to Self Determination and the Right of Return. Of course you know this. And we suppose now your thinking “screw you”.

The latest march through central London on “a day of rage” though connectedly peaceful, reminded us you don’t just drift Hugo. In response to an article by Richard Ingrams in 2003 you responded by writing of your first response ‘rage’: “Proper, find-the-man-and-give-him-a-kick-on-the backside-even-though-he’s 75 sort of rage.”

So you “drift”, “rage”, “sadness” comes upon you. You “get the hump” and “your scared”. You have an agenda because we all do. Then we have your opinions. People are “slugs and monsters who would crawl into the sunshine to agree” with you! Crikey. Then you “fear” because you are reluctant to speak of Israelis policies toward the Palestinians “Which is not” you say “complimentary, or even nearly.” Well good for you.

You are right to remind others of anti-Semitism “Burnt synagogues in France, petrol bombs in Germany. The Community Security Trust, which provides protection for Jewish institutions in the UK, recorded more anti-Semitic incidents in July than in any month, save one (January 2009) since 1984.” Abhorrent yes of course and we condemn the sin of such acts. But then Hugo, your “rage” lack of empathy, even sympathy, comes to the twilight zone as one of your “slugs” has the temerity to ask a question. You get the hump and write. “None of this is imaginary [the above attacks]. “Ah”, say some, “but does that matter more than 2,000 deaths in Gaza? To which I reply screw you. Screw you for even asking the question.” My, your eloquence Hugo is unsurpassed.

This statement of yours Hugo is unsurprising for it was you who wrote 12th July 2014 in The Spectator: “I make no moral case here. I make no comparison between Israeli actions, Palestinian actions, Egyptian actions, Iranian actions, Russian actions, or the actions of anybody else. If I did, obviously, Israel would come out well. It’s definitely a democracy, after all, and while the rule of law might not always quite hold, it’s definitely there, in every conversation, demanding that it damn well ought to. Like I said, from the comfort of over here we can’t possibly know how we’d cope with rockets, kidnappings and neighbors preaching annihilation. Pretty badly, I suspect.” Your comfort lies in your denial. In your power to express any truth that you cling to and screw others who hold very different opinions based on first hand experience, and the exhuming of facts. Israel has planned and executed a continuum of atrocities since its inception and international acceptance as a belligerent state and has engenieered a state policy of bellicosity. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty Hugo. Not what we think but what high level missions to Gaza found in 2009, and will almost certainly find again after operation Protective Edge, as you scamper and skip around the juvenile journo playgrounds.

The 23rd September 2009 Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE) 1. Executive Summary:

Page 9 article 7 43. “The mission investigated 11 incidents in which the Israeli armed forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome (chap. XI) The facts in all bar one of the attacks indicate no justifiable military objective…”

44: “These incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli armed forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population. The Mission found strong corroboration of this trend in the testimonies of Israeli soldiers collected in two publications it received.”

45: “The Mission further examined an incident in which a mosque was targeted with a missile during early evening prayers, resulting in the death of 15 people, and an attack with flechette munitions on a crowd of family and neighbours at a condolence tent, killing five. The Mission finds that both attacks constitute intentional attacks against the civilian populations and civilian objects.”

The 24th September 2009 Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2) Conclusions and Recommendations.

Page 14 1933: “In addition to the above general findings, the Mission also considers that Israel has violated its specific obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, including the rights to peace and security, free movement, livelihood and health.”

1934: “The Mission concludes that the conditions resulting from the deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Government with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on people of the Gaza strip. The Mission, therefore, finds a violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

“(g) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and acts raising individual responsibility under international criminal law”

1935: “From the facts gathered, the Mission found that the following grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by the Israeli armed forces in Gaza: Wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. As grave breaches theses acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility. The Mission notes that the use of human shields also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

1936: “The Mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law, and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity has been committed.”

So Hugo Rifkind. Do the above facts give you the hump? Make you rage at the moon? Make you toss and turn at night? Are you to become a permanent drifter? Or one day will you be washed up on to the shores of universal justice and understanding.

We have given you but a few facts that amount to egregious crimes. These facts from 2009 will be the same facts before, during and after operation Protective Edge.

We leave you with Raheem Kassam with whom you wouldn’t meet. He said “I have an idea as to why Rifkind wouldn’t want to meet someone like me. Because it would blow his whole left-leaning, Islington-dwelling pseudo-intelligentsia world apart.” We don’t know Mr Kassam, but do meet with people who are awake as you slumber and drift, as the Palestinians are murdered in their beds.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted by email: Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global. Soraya can be contacted by email:




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