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Cameron should be the last to play the "identity" card

April 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm

With their once substantial lead over the Labour Party now reduced to a bare minimum the last thing the Tories needed was another indicator that it is the party of exclusivists and privileged. If the report from this week’s Jewish Chronicle is true, the Tories will suffer more setbacks for two reasons; first, for playing the “identity” card – for which Muslims have been castigated mercilessly in recent weeks – and, second, for openly opposing the conclusions of the UN’s Goldstone Report.

David Cameron has long tried to present himself as a man of the people, someone who understands their pains and needs. Ostensibly, he is most uncomfortable when his rivals mention his status as an Old Etonian. So when the JC celebrated the discovery of his “Jewish roots” and that, “Mr Cameron’s great-great-grandfather, Emile Levita, was a German émigré banker who became a British citizen in 1871. Emile married out and led the life of a country gentleman as the owner of a grouse moor in Wales. His four sons, like Mr Cameron, went to Eton”, it was only reinforcing the popular perception that he is just another grandee. In doing so, the JC did a big disservice to Mr Cameron, while trying to boost its patrons.

Perhaps those who relished the  grilling of British Muslims on whether they were British first and Muslim second, should now ask David Cameron whether he is Jewish first and British second.

Even if one is tempted to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt over his identity politics the overall trajectory of his party is clear when it comes to British Muslims. Senior officials have lined up one behind the other to issue stark warnings of what the future holds.  The list grows longer by the week. Under the title ‘I’ll drain Britain of extremist poison’ the JC explains this week who and what is referred to:

“A Conservative government would ban extremist Islamist groups, refuse visas to hate preachers and insist that universities identify and root out radicals promoting violence, antisemitism [sic] and other racial intolerance on campus.”

Most astonishingly, even after acknowledging that “The detailed allegations of human rights abuses… [in the Goldstone Report] are serious and they do need to be fully investigated”, Cameron confirmed to the JC that a Conservative government would have voted against the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on the report because it “didn’t mention Hamas’s role in starting the conflict”. He has ignored, or is unaware of, the fact that Israel broke the ceasefire with Hamas on 4th November 2008 and revealed subsequently that it had been planning for Operation Cast Lead for more than six months, even while the ceasefire was in place.

So what change are we speaking of Mr Cameron? At the very least the incumbent Labour government did the decent thing on 27 February and voted along with 97 members of the General Assembly supporting the Goldstone Report. If only for this, when it comes to polling day Britain’s sizeable Muslim electorate must be inclined to stick to the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t know.