World 3 June 2010 The Israel lobby whitewashes human suffering Some simple questions for Lorna Fitzsimons. Print HTML The chief executive of Bicom (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre) and former Labour MP for Rochdale, Lorna Fitzsimons, has posted a guest blog on The Staggers. Shock, horror, it's a 528-word defence of Israel and denunciation of Hamas. But it's what she doesn't say that is much more important than what she does. Not one word of regret or sadness for the nine deaths on board the Mavi Marmara at the hands of Israeli naval commandos; only a vague reference to "the tragic events of the past week". No proper acknowledgement of the heartbreaking humanitarian catastrophe inside Gaza, as a result of the three-year Israeli-Egyptian siege, besides a brief nod to "the toll being taken on ordinary Palestinians". In fact, the Bicom boss casually refers to the economic blockade on Gaza only as a set of "restrictions". How civilised! Here, in contrast, is the view of John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza: We have run out of words to describe how bad it is here. I had planned to fisk the entire post from Fitzsimons but I couldn't be bothered. So I end with some rather simple but important questions for her to answer: * Why is she opposed to coriander being allowed into Gaza? * Why is she opposed to nutmeg being allowed into Gaza? * Why is she opposed to dried fruit being allowed into Gaza? * Why is she opposed to fishing rods being allowed into Gaza? * Why is she opposed to newspapers being allowed into Gaza? All of these items, as of 6 May, were on Israel's banned list. She supports the embargo, so perhaps she can tell us why the Gazans are deprived of ginger and nuts. The reality, of course, is that the siege of Gaza is a form of "collective punishment", as the distinguished Jewish South African jurist Richard Goldstone concluded in his report for the UN last year. It is sickening to see a former British Labour MP defend such a cruel, immoral and sadistic policy. UPDATE: Lorna Fitzsimons has responded to my post here. And I have made my own views clear, once again, in the comments section below her post. Special subscription offer: get 12 issues for £12 plus a free copy of Andy Beckett's When The Lights Went Out. › Alastair Campbell’s diaries: on today’s leadership pretenders Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12. Subscribe More Related articles Shimon Peres dies: President Obama leads tributes to Israel's former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yanis Varoufakis: The left never recovered from the fall of the Soviet Union — yet there is hope Clinton vs Trump: How does the electoral college work?