Brendan O’Neill Brendan O’Neill

It’s not Palestinian blood that is cheap, Humza Yousaf

(Photo: Getty)

Sometimes a politician says something that makes you wonder if they’re living on a different planet. This week it was Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf. He said there is a dearth of political concern for the poor people of Gaza. It feels like ‘Palestinian blood is very cheap’, he said.

It seems to me that it isn’t concern for Muslim life that motors the protesting classes – it’s contempt for Israel

I’m sorry, what? There have been more public displays of sorrow for the people of Gaza than for any other people caught up in a war as far back as I can remember. Solidarity with Gazans is virtually mandatory at dinner parties across the land. Few wars have pricked the conscience of the middle classes as much as this one.

We’ve seen think piece after think piece about the pain of the Palestinians. Bourgeois youths have hit the streets every weekend to register their compassion for Gazans and their hatred for Israel. MPs have made tub-thumping speeches on the need for a ceasefire. Palestinian flags fly from lamposts. The keffiyeh has become the fashion item du jour for the ostentatiously virtuous.

The real question, Mr Yousaf, is not why people are silent on Gaza (they’re not), but why they seem so much more agitated by this war than by any other of recent times. It’s that question that needs to be answered. And I don’t think you’ll like the answer.

It was in conversation with Laura Kuenssberg that Yousaf issued his colourful cry about Palestinian blood being ‘cheap’. Asked by Ms Kuenssberg if ‘people’ place a ‘different value on Palestinian lives, [on] Muslim lives’, he said: ‘Without a shadow of a doubt.’ Many in ‘the Muslim community’ feel that way, he said.

News outlets were quick to report his damning of the political world for viewing Palestinians as dispensable.

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