A British Muslim and former politician has called on the UK to prosecute citizens serving in the IDF, equating the Israeli military with ISIS.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a former Conservative party cabinet member who resigned from her post in 2014 because the UK government did not condemn Israel’s counter-terrorism Operation Protective Edge, has called on the British government to prosecute citizens who volunteer to fight in the IDF.
Warsi, a British Muslim, said she was seeking to eliminate a loophole allowing Brits to serve in state armies like those of Israel or Pakistan as well as in non-state militaries such as the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
“If you go out there and fight for any group, you will be subject to prosecution when you get back. If you go out and fight for Assad, I presume, under our law, that is okay. That can’t be right,” Warsi said in an interview with Middle East Eye.
According to Warsi, anyone who serves in the IDF should be treated as a foreign fighter, much like those who have gone to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
“The only reason we allow the loophole to exist is because of the IDF, because we are not brave enough to say if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only. That has to go out strong,” Warsi said, adding, “Let’s just shut down this loophole. If you don’t fight for Britain, you do not fight.”
‘Driven by Her Own Personal Agenda’
Stuart Polak, honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel, assailed Warsi’s equation between the IDF and ISIS.
“To equate the actions of the Israel Defense Force and non-state actors that can include vile terror groups such as Islamic State is misguided. This blasé attitude is both careless and shows a total lack of understanding of the only true democracy in the Middle East,” said Lord Polak.
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush ridiculed her move. “Sayeeda Warsi lost all touch with reality when she flounced out of government over her Gaza issues and into well-earned obscurity,” he told Times of Israel.
“If she is really suggesting that a Briton who volunteers for the French Foreign Legion or serves in the armed forces of a close ally is a traitor, then no one can treat her seriously,” Arkush said.
Chairman of the Zionist Federation Paul Charney, who served as an IDF tank commander, called Warsi’s comparisons “irrational.”
“Baroness Warsi’s comments come dangerously close to comparisons between the defense forces of the democratic state of Israel and the extremist forces in Syria. This is a wildly irrational comparison and simply serves to demonize not only the Middle East’s but arguably the world’s most moral army,” he stated.
“Baroness Warsi is driven by her own personal agenda, which is an anti-Israel one, and would sooner see Israel’s capability to defend itself limited than support the one true democracy in the region,” he added.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff
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