The U.K. Israeli arms embargo: Hypocrisy defined

The U.K. canceled export licenses for weapons parts to Israel because of the Gaza war and its civilian death toll. But they have said—and done—nothing about exports to countries like Sri Lanka, where the war with the Tamil Tigers caused thousand of civilian deaths.

In 2008, while the civil war in Sri Lanka was raging, Britain sold $22 million worth of armored vehicles, machine gun parts and semi-automatic pistols to the government in Colombo. During the course of the Sri Lankan army’s assault on the last Tamil Tiger strongholds from January to May this year, approximately 20,000 civilians were killed.

The Foreign Office said of the cancelled Israeli contracts “We do not grant export licenses where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or internal repression.” The Sri Lankan army appears to have killed more than 40 times the number of civilians in its campaign against the Tamil Tigers than were killed in the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year, but we have yet to hear of any restrictions on British arms exports to Sri Lanka.

The U.K. also sells arms to China, Algeria, and Pakistan, all of whom have blatant disregard for civilian casualties. And yet, the U.K. hasn’t canceled export licenses for any of those nations.

Funny. You’d almost think there were some other reason to single out Israel above all other nations. Let me think—what is it, exactly, that makes Israel different from the rest of the world?

But no. It’s simply the British conscience speaking. I’m sure that very soon, we’re going to hear that the Brits stopped selling weapons to Sri Lanka. Any day now. Sure.

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2 Responses to The U.K. Israeli arms embargo: Hypocrisy defined

  1. Michael Lonie says:

    Well now that the Sri Lankan army has defeated the Tamil Tigers I expect British arms sales to Sri Lanka will decline, if Sri Lanka is going to buy fewer weapons now it is at peace.

    I wonder if it ever occured to the Sir Humphrey Applebys making this decision to starve Israel of defense weapons that by casting Britain on the side of Hamas, which has the goal of the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jewish inhabitants, they are making themselves and their country accessories to attempted genocide? If Hamas makes any progress, that will mean the Brits are committing a violation of real international law (not the made-up variety so often cited to denounce Israel and the USA), the UN Treaty prohibiting genocide. So the Brits are setting themselves up as accessories before the fact as war criminals.

  2. Alex Bensky says:

    “This is our policy, except for Jews.” Nothing new here. On the other hand, the world media did not seem too exercised about the thousands of Sri Lankans killed in the fighting by government and rebels alike. The Tamil Tigers clearly failed to understand how to get attention–blowing up a few airliners, massacring innocent civilians in neutral nations, murdering Sri Lankan diplomats…this would have likely brought them some attention.

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