The Telegraph chose the wrong week to launch its bogus attack on John McDonnell

The Telegraph logo and John McDonnell
Support us and go ad-free

The Telegraph attacked [paywall] John McDonnell on 8 August for describing an Israeli assault on Gaza as an attempted “genocide”. Labour’s shadow chancellor made the comment during a speech in 2012.

But the Telegraph chose an unfortunate week to dredge up this particular characterisation of Israel’s actions from McDonnell’s past. Because the country is currently blocking the United Nations (UN) from providing emergency fuel to Gaza.

The UN says the fuel provides “a minimum level of life-saving services” to Gazans and that:

The well-being of two million people, half of whom are children, is at stake.

That’s the entire population of Gaza – including around one million children – which Israel is putting at risk of “a disease outbreak or other major public health concern”, among other things.

No wonder McDonnell stands by his words:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“A dangerous practice”

The UN distributes approximately 950,000 litres of fuel a month to Gaza. It powers backup generators at hospitals, water and sewage treatment sites, and waste collection services. Gazans depend on the UN’s supply because they currently only get four hours of electricity [paywall] each day.

Since 2 August, however, Israel has blocked entry of the fuel. It also restricted entry from 16 to 24 July. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is urging it to reconsider. Its humanitarian coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, said:

Restricting the entry of emergency fuel to Gaza is a dangerous practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza… It is unacceptable that Palestinians in Gaza are repeatedly deprived of the most basic elements of a dignified life.


The UN says that it needs to deliver 60,000 litres of fuel immediately to ensure even “the basic functioning” of 46 “critical facilities” in Gaza. It also points out that over 2,000 hospital patients are at the “highest risk” because they’re dependent on electrical devices.

Israel’s fuel blockage, which it says is in response to ‘incendiary kites’, comes at an already dire time for Gazans. Israel has maintained a brutal blockage of the strip for 11 years. As renowned academic Noam Chomsky has explained, Israel has effectively put Gaza on a “diet” whereby it allows people there “just enough calories… so they don’t all die”.

Jewish intellectual Norman Finklestein summed up [0.28] the situation for people in Gaza in an interview earlier this year:

70% of the people of Gaza are refugees. More than half are children. They’re trapped. There’s no way out. And the UN reports, and even Israel is saying, the situation there is ‘unliveable’. Now you use your own semantical imagination – how would you describe a situation where people are caged into conditions which are literally unliveable? What word would you use?

Meanwhile, Israel has carried out a number of crushing military campaigns in Gaza, costing thousands of lives. As The Canary reported previously:

rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza reportedly killed 30 civilians in Israel between 2001 and August 2014. But during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza alone, Israel killed at least 1,483 Palestinian civilians. Five civilians died in Israel during that same conflict.

On 8 August 2018, Israel killed a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child during its military retaliation to non-fatal rocket fire from the strip.


The UN includes a number of examples of what constitutes genocide in its definition of the crime. One reads:

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

The blockade, the diet, the bombing, the caging of Gazans in “the world’s largest open-air prison”, and now the fuel restriction – which is putting “the well-being” of all Gaza’s citizens “at stake” – certainly appears to fit that description.

So it’s no wonder McDonnell won’t retract his comments. And the Telegraph truly picked an unfortunate time to point them out.

Get Involved!

Support the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

– Help to spread support for Palestinians’ basic human rights by joining the #MeTooGaza campaign. And see The Canary‘s interview with a Jewish activist from #MeTooGaza here.

Featured image via TheCityUK – YouTube and Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed