by Jason Lever
Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:49:25 GMT
Peace in the Middle East
The Labour government finally officially recognised Israel in 1950, a year in which its parliamentary majority was slashed from 145 to just 5 seats in the general election.
Solomon moved a motion on ‘The Middle East’ in 1958 to relax tensions in the region for the cause of world peace – with ‘an international guarantee for existing frontiers...’, including those of Israel, and to ‘transform the existing armistice agreements between the Arab States and Israel into a peace treaty...’ He presented this as Labour Party policy.
He referred back to speaking in conference debate in 1956, when he made the case for nascent Arab, nationalist states to take their cue from Israel: ‘as a method of government, then there is no finer example they can take from Israel’.
Two years later, he refers to propaganda directed against Israel (TUC History Online, 3):
‘Such a torrent of hate has rarely been heard, even from the Nazis in their heydey.
‘Under a democratic government, the Israelis have transformed the desert into fertile lands... without the immense revenues the Arabs are getting from oil. [He contrasts this with Nasser’s ambition] to put an Egyptian dictatorship over the whole of the Middle East.
‘The region needs technical aid... irrigation, tractors and educational facilities far more than it needs arms. There is no reason at all why the Arab states should not utilise to the full their rich natural resources. Israel has shown the world what people can do when they are imbued with the idea of social reconstruction’.
He concludes by making the links between Israel’s developmental success and its socialist and unionist credentials, mindful of his audience:
‘What has Israel had in return? – a tiny bit of a vast territory, a tiny bit not much bigger than an English county... It must surely be a source of satisfaction to all of us that in a tiny corner of that vast territory known as “the Middle East”, in Israel, there exists and thrives a strong and virile Labour and Trade Union Movement, based on the same ideals as this Congress as ours’.
The full speech can be read at TUC History Online
comments powered by