LONDON (RNS) The first Muslim to serve in a British Cabinet resigned Tuesday (Aug. 5) over her government’s “morally indefensible” policies in Gaza and its role in the Middle East peace process.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the government's Minister for Faith and the first Muslim member of a British cabinet, said religious freedom is a proxy for human rights and must not be an "add-on" to foreign policy. Photo by Kaveh Sardari/Council on Foreign Relations

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the government’s minister for faith and the first Muslim member of a British Cabinet, said religious freedom is a proxy for human rights and must not be an “add-on” to foreign policy. Photo by Kaveh Sardari/Council on Foreign Relations


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who served as senior Foreign Office minister for faith and communities, announced her decision on Twitter, saying: “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.”

In her resignation letter, Warsi wrote: “I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice.”

Labour leaders and human rights groups have criticized Britain’s Conservative government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, in recent weeks for not unequivocally condemning Israel’s handling of the Gaza crisis.

Conservative leaders expressed disappointment over Warsi’s “unnecessary” resignation on Tuesday, while Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband said Warsi had acted with “principle and integrity” in deciding to step down.

In Warsi’s first interview post-resignation, she told Huffington Post: “Our decision not to recognize Palestinian statehood at the U.N. in November 2012 placed us on the wrong side of history and is something I deeply regret not speaking out against at the time.”

She is now calling on Britain to introduce an arms embargo against Israel.

Warsi’s resignation comes the same day Israel and Hamas begin a 72-hour ceasefire with leaders on both sides in Cairo negotiating for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Warsi, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, became the first Muslim minister to serve in a British Cabinet when Cameron appointed her in 2010.

She has been a leading advocate for international religious freedom and has worked on combating hate crimes, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Christian persecution in Britain and abroad.

KRE/MG END PELLOT

 

10 Comments

  1. She loves to condemn Israel, but where is the mention of rockets being stored in UN schools, the propaganda videos encouraging the death and annihilation of Israel shown to Palestinian children, the tunnels dug to infiltrate Israel and perpetuate violence, or the espoused belief that Israel should not even exist as a nation and a commitment to fight on until that is accomplished?

    People get all upset because Israel has the military power to inflict serious damage to little Palestine, but the instigator is clearly Palestine. You don’t see Israel making hate videos or promising to eradicate Palestine.

    This woman is blind to the real issues, but unfortunately she is right in line with the liberal media and culture at large.

    • “People get all upset because Israel has the military power to inflict serious damage to little Palestine”

      People get upset at an occupying, besieging force using heavy armaments in densely populated civilian areas, and then claiming self defence. People also get upset at the ongoing brutal military occupation of the West Bank, besiegement of Gaza, collective punishment of civilians, shootings and missile strikes by the IDF, settler violence, destruction of farmlands and orchards, mass arbitrary arrests, checkpoints and ‘settler only roads’ criss crossing the West Bank isolating towns from each other, and the ongoing lie that Israel truly wishes to peacefully negotiate and would ever support Palestinian statehood.

      “You don’t see Israel making hate videos or promising to eradicate Palestine.”

      Israeli politicians freely espouse the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied territories to create a ‘greater Israel’, and some have expressed the view that all Palestinians, regardless of age or affiliation, are the enemy. They don’t need to promise to eradicate Palestine since they’re absolutely opposed to any possibility of its creation in the first place and have declared as much.

      The “issues” are that the occupied and besieged are not regarded by the occupiers and besiegers as having the same rights to defend themselves, an equal right to live in security, and an equal right to self determination and statehood. Instead, the abusive occupiers/besiegers hold every violent reaction to their abuse by the abused, as justification for continuing the abuse, and as an opportunity to reframe the narrative with themselves as the victims.

      “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israeli army] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza].”
      “Therefore I call on the prime minister who we all support in this difficult hour, before we send the IDF into Gaza, we should simply shut down their electricity”
      – Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, 9th July 2014.

      • “People get upset at an occupying, besieging force using heavy armaments in densely populated civilian areas, and then claiming self defence. ”

        Yes, Hamas has a lot to answer for. Such as putting heavy armaments in densely populated civilian areas to intentionally draw fire towards them. Indiscriminately firing rockets at civilians for the sole purpose of sowing terror and inviting reprisals. Using all available borders to import rockets and guns but denying their use for humanitarian supplies and aid. Intentionally putting their own population in harms way on the orders of foreign powers.

        What would happen to Israel’s reputation if they didn’t have such great excuses, such as a foreign backed armed force on their border vowing to wipe them out? If Hamas laid down their weapons and used peaceful protests?

        The US would be unable to overlook Israel’s heavy handed attitudes. Pressure would mount ala South Africa under apartheid. [Which btw wasn't effective until the end of the Cold War]

        The “armed struggle” and making excuses for it does nothing and will do nothing except enable gun toting mercenaries to be leaders of a beleaguered people.

        “People also get upset at the ongoing brutal military occupation of the West Bank”

        The people in the West Bank have gained a great deal more legitimacy in their griping than Gazans do. Nobody is firing rockets from the West Bank. Fatah has disavowed its former rhetoric to wipe Israel out (in public anyway). But the problem is the two Palestinian states are not a united front anymore. Palestinian statehood right now would in fact mean 2 separate warring states. If Ramallah was being treated like Gaza city right now, you would see much more uproar.

        Even the Palestinian Authority only goes through the motions of pretending to show solidarity with Gaza. Fratricidal conflict doesn’t go away with a couple of public displays for the press. If you think the Israelis have a vested interest in keeping Gaza under blockade, Fatah has even greater interest in this.

      • Israeli politicians freely espouse the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied territories to create a ‘greater Israel’,

        Meir Kahane died 24 years ago.

        I have a bwilliant ideah: why not segregate the two populations as much as possible and call it a day? Waal, because for north of a third of the Arab public on the West Bank and Gaza, a ‘solution’ requires that the State of Israel be dissolved. Another 30% are willing to take the slow train and merely insist that any final agreement must allow a fuzzily defined seven-digit collection of Arabs to settle in Israel at their own discretion (‘right of return’).

        When you all can come up with a plan more elevated than burning down your neighbor’s house, get back to us.

  2. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    How many tunnels burrowing into Israel should Israel have allowed before defending itself??? How many rockets fired from Gaza should Israel have ignored before defending itself?????. It always seems to be Jews who get damned for defending themselves.

  3. The Great God Pan

    “She has been a leading advocate for international religious freedom…”

    Yet she militantly opposed secularism, which is the only value that can ultimately protect religious freedom for everyone in a multicultural society. She was a strong proponent of mingling Church and State and viciously denounced any attempts to keep them separate.

    She was also a Tory, lest anyone mistake her for a leftist due to her stance on Israel/Palestine.

  4. Phil Zuckerman

    Hamas states in its official charter that its goal is to kill Jews. Not “Israelis.” Jews. Kill all Jews. That is in its charter.

    Hamas’s goal is also to eradicate Israel. All of Israel. Not share the land, but exterminate the nation of Israel entirely.

    Why don’t the people of Gaza simply declare their desire to be left alone? To build democracy? To live in peace? No, instead they support Hamas. Good luck with that.

    Israel has been oppressing Palestinians for decades: detaining them, humiliating them, beating them, denying them basic human and civil rights. Killing them in the streets. Dropping phospherous (sp?) bombs. Etc.

    Israel has been stealing Palestinian land for decades — building more and more settlements. More and more. In the West Bank.

    The answer: Palestinians must accept that Jews have a right to a homeland. Palestinians must accept that Israel is here to stay. Palestinians must stop trying to kill Jews.

    Israel must accept that Palestinians have a right to a homeland. Israel must get out of the West Bank. Jerusalem must be a shared city.

    • Imagine what kind of excuses one would have to make to defend Israel’s actions if Hamas suddenly renounced violence and started peaceful protests!

      Think of how effective it would be to put pressure on Israel’s allies and the UN to have a Palestinian state! Think of how difficult it would be to overlook heavy-handed reprisal actions by the IDF if it were the case!

      But the thought will never occur to Hamas. Being proxy fighters for Iran keeps such considerations permanently off the table.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.