23 October 2012

The socialism (or the human rights, perhaps) of fools lives - unfortunately

There's an interesting article (I use the word "interesting" loosely) in the current issue of The Commentator. The essential argument is that Labour MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), or some of them at least, are opposing the introduction of a Protocol which would extend some of the advantages of the EU open market to Israel. I'm sure that, by now, there are a lot of you out there who are already with, if not actually ahead of, me. That's right, it's because "Israeli companies would see an elimination of trade barriers in the European Union." It's the socialism, or perhaps in this case, the human rights, of fools time, to paraphrase August Bebel.

"[Mary] Honeyball [Labour MEP and one of the usual suspects in this case] writes: "The proposed Protocol is intended to eliminate technical barriers to trade in industrial products between the European Union and the State of Israel. It largely applies to pharmaceutical products, and is intended to align certain assessment standards in order to facilitate trade. In effect this means some of the benefits of the EU internal market would be extended to Israel, and would offer Israeli pharmaceutical companies easier access to the EU market."

But alongside intense lobbying from groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Labour MEPs have been resisting this move which it is argued, "will bring about lower manufacturing costs for European drug companies, ultimately resulting in savings for the European governments which provide their citizens with healthcare, as well as cheaper medications for European citizens paying for certain products out of their own pockets".

When you read the actual article, you'll realise that what these people have carefully failed to mention is that the Protocol also covers Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. That doesn't matter, it's only Israel, with its appalling human rights record (it says on these MEPs cvs) that matters. Not the wonderfully positive, so much than Israel's human rights records of the other states, nor the loss to EU citizens. That's British irony, for those of you reading this late at night.

One has to wonder just what happened to their intelligence: checked at the door when they started taking the Palestine Solidarity Committee seriously, I guess.

By the way, if you're unclear what I mean about Honeyball being "one of the usual suspects", check her out on Google: one of the entries noted her (active) membership in Unison, one of the unions to pass a boycott motion at an Annual Conference. Please note that this is despite the positive reports that Unison delegations have brought back from Israel and Palestine as to the levels of co-operation between the Histradut and the PGTU.*

* see: an article by Alan Johnson, and the various references to this Unison report, found, in turn, here. As I keep saying, it's the socialism of fools time. (very deep sigh)

By Brian Goldfarb.