LONDON — England is mourning Jo Cox, the Labour Party MP assassinated last week, and the media has been quick to praise her record of support for human rights.
Although Cox held progressive views on some issues, like the rights of Palestinians and her opposition to Islamophobia, a closer look at her political record shows she also supported a U.S.-British backed, imperialist agenda on key foreign policy issues such as the Syrian civil war.
Cox died shortly after being shot and stabbed multiple times while she prepared to meet with voters on Thursday. Multiple reports have tied her murder and the assailant to Britain’s far-right, racist elements and Cox’s opposition to the “Brexit” campaign, an upcoming vote over whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union.
Cox, who was 41 when she died, is survived by two children and her husband, Brendan, who told the BBC that she was dedicated to fighting for “a better world” throughout her career. Before entering public office, Cox was a well-known supporter of humanitarian charities and worked for the NGO Oxfam.
The Guardian reported on Monday that she had been collaborating with Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), a British Islamophobia watchdog group, to document the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence in Britain. She planned to report her findings to Parliament later this month.
“She was a passionate advocate for Palestine — speaking up on child prisoners, the siege of Gaza, the right to boycott and many other issues,” Hugh Lanning, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Al-Jazeera over the weekend.
And The Washington Post reported last week that Cox also advocated for European countries to be more open to Syrian refugees, especially children.
At the same time, Cox also supported neoconservative, interventionist policies in Syria that likely contributed to the record-breaking refugee crisis facing Europe today. In October, she forged a bipartisan alliance with Andrew Mitchell, a Conservative Party MP, to demand “radical action” in Syria. According to The Guardian, their proposal included enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria, even if the move was opposed in the United Nations, and increased military presence on the ground in order to create “safe zones” for civilians.
Although couched in humanitarian terms, a no-fly zone is considered an act of war under international law. And the proposed “safe zones” would have represented an escalation of foreign military intervention in Syria without proven benefits for civilians.
“Nobody knows whether the proposed ‘safe havens’ would actually work,” warned Diane Abbott, a fellow Labour Party MP, in an October 2015 op-ed for The Guardian. “Notably they did not prevent thousands of Bosnian Muslims being slaughtered in Srebrenica.”
In March, Cox collaborated with German MP Omid Nouripour on an op-ed which advocated for support of so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria, undermining U.S. efforts at peace talks. Contrary to the “myth” of the moderate rebel, Syrian opposition forces have repeatedly been tied to extremist groups like al-Qaida and Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group known in the West as ISIS or ISIL). A crowdfunding campaign established in the wake of Cox’s death supports three of her “favorite” charities, including The White Helmets, a faux-humanitarian NGO known to support Western interests in Syria.
Even Oxfam, her former employer, has been accused of being more supportive of instituting a neoliberal agenda than eliminating poverty.
While Cox’s death is an undeniable tragedy and a warning against the rising tide of violence of European right-wing extremism, it’s important to place her record in perspective with her overall support for the Labour party’s neoliberal agenda.
Watch “Dissecting The ‘Humanitarian’ Propaganda Train Driving US intervention In Syria” from MintPress News’ “Behind The Headline”:
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