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Neutrality or the tooth fairy

Neutrality or the tooth fairy: which one is more likely to exist. Consider this: you and a dozen friends walk around the corner. You see 3 men with baseball bats closing in on a small child. You keep walking. The men pretend they are Canadian and the child is a harp seal (favourite drink, Canadian Club on the rocks). You walk on. You and your friends bask in your neutrality. Aren't you wonderful.

So this is where we are when it comes to neutrality: it does not exist. You cannot avoid culpability. If you find yourself with the power to alter events, and you don't, you are responsible for the outcome. Actually, no. Neutrality insists that you automatically side with the weak to neutralise the benefits of the strong, regardless of justifications for either side. But no one expects that to happen, do they? So for all intents and purposes, so-called neutrality is really just gutless appeasement.

In the above scenario, the only neutral position the group could have taken would have been to help the child fend off the assailants. Everything else aids the men. You are responsible. You may as well have wielded the bat yourself.

In my younger days, I had a frequent discussion with an avowed pacifist, who took the view that everyone is responsible for their own actions. He could tell the men to stop, but he couldn't force them to. I disagree - if telling them to stop doesn't work, you have to intervene. Whether it is a small child being clubbed or a Kurdish tribe being gassed, if you have the power to stop them, and you leave it to "diplomacy" you are responsible for the outcomes. My pacifist friend even took the view that it was wrong to kill someone who was about to commit mass murder, even if that was the only way to save the lives of many innocents. I obviously disagree.

Which brings me back to recent events. France, glorious France. A country full of history. With men of great stature, such as Napoleon and...and... Napoleon II. Ok, a country with a glorious military history of gutless appeasement and collaboration. Anyway, two weeks ago, France was pretending to be a world leader. They negotiated the UN resolution which led to the ceasefire in Lebanon. Good start, but it did kind of rely on some troops being sent for the peacekeeping force. France was expected to take a leadership role. How many people are they sending? 200. And the kicker? they complain that the terms of reference for the force are vague. Chutzpah isn't just a man on trial for the murder of his parents asking for leniency because he's an orphan.

And Britain. Britain isn't excused either. They may not have taken a lead in securing a ceasefire or those diplomatic actions, but there were enough people having a go at Blair demanding that he call for an immediate ceasefire. Logic suggests that they should now be demanding Britain send troops to ensure the ceasefire holds. Their silence is deafening. For what it's worth, I call on Britain to contribute forces to the peacekeeping mission.

Anyway, in the absence of French or British forces, who are contributing troops? Bangladesh. Malaysia. Indonesia. No disrespect to any of those three, but not having diplomatic ties with Israel will make it kind of difficult to co-ordinate territory handover. I'm waiting for Iran and Syria to volunteer approximately 100,000 troops each for the peacekeeping mission.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where neutrality ends up.

Moving on slightly, there's been a little something that's been annoying me recently. The BBC did a story where they talked about the battle to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. Indeed, they have done several stories on this matter. If the impetus is that they want a just and fair society for all partcipants, fine, that is reasonable. But it isn't. The impetus is that some segments of Britain's Islamic community feel hard done by because of negative reactions to Islam in the press and increased police and intelligence operations investigating some elements of the British Islamic community in the wake of the terrorist operations perpetrated by some Muslims. While I don't think any elements of the Muslim community who are not involved in terrorist actions should be held responsible for other people's actions (the above discourse on responsibility and neutrality notwithstanding), nor should they be rewarded for the terrorist actions of members of their community by being given an extra voice.

A relationship the BBC frequently likes to draw is between Muslim disenchantment and British foreign policy. The Muslim community doesn't like it? Bad luck. I don't like either the BBC or the Government's anti-Israel behaviour, particularly as I see it as having anti-Semitic roots. I don't like racism of any flavour, particularly not when it is against me. I don't like the Independent's anti-Israel stance, so I can opt out of that. Indeed, I have. My boycott on the Independent is still in force. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot I can do about organisations that I have no choice about. I don't give money to the BBC purely because I don't have a TV, and if I did then I would have to give them money regardless. Similarly, until the next election, there isn't a lot I can do about the Government either. But given their anti-Israel policies, they are doing well to lose my heart and mind. Does this mean I get given an extra say on societal matters? No, of course not. And why? Because (as far as I know), no people from Britain's Jewish community, or indeed from the global one, are posing a terrorist threat to the UK or her interests. I don't advocate terrorism, I don't excuse it and I don't justify it. And for that I am drowned out.

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