Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A Right Royal Wrong – the British Foreign Office's Unmajestic Boycott of Israel

The Queen in Abu Dhabi last year
A few days ago it was announced that the Queen and Prince Philip are to pay an official state visit to Ireland some time this year – the first since the Irish Republic’s independence, and the first visit to the Emerald Isle by a ruling British monarch since King George V’s visit 100 years ago. This will mean that there remain only two major countries in the world that Her Majesty has never visited – Greece and, yes, Israel.

Speaking in London at an Anglo-Israel Association dinner just over a year ago, and more recently at a Friends of Israel function, the well-known (non-Jewish) British historian Andrew Roberts reminded his listeners that not once in all the years that she has been on the throne, has Queen Elizabeth II ever been to Israel. The Foreign Office arranges royal visits to foreign countries, and he’d tackled it on the issue, only to be reminded that many countries besides Israel have not had a royal visit.
“That might be true for Burkino Faso and Chad, but the FO has somehow managed to find the time over the years to send the queen on state visits to Libya, Iran, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Turkey,” was his cynical reaction.
Mr Roberts, a supporter from the beginning of J. M. Aznar’s splendid Friends of Israel initiative, has said:
“The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world’s population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14 percent of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32 percent of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32 percent for Physics, 39 percent for Economics and 29 percent for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers.”
And he went on:
“Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95 percent over three years. It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever undertaken an official visit to Israel, as though the country is still in quarantine after more than six decades.
Her Majesty the Queen has been on the throne for 57 years and in that time has undertaken 250 official visits to 129 countries, yet has not yet set foot in Israel. She has visited 14 Arab countries, so it cannot have been that she wasn’t in the region. Although Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice is buried on the Mount of Olives because of her status as Righteous Among Gentiles, the Foreign Office ordained that his visit to his mother’s grave in 1994 had to be in a private capacity only. Royal visits are one of the ways legitimacy is conferred on nations, and the Coalition Government should end the Foreign Office’s de facto boycott.”
He’s in no doubt that the Foreign Office “has a ban on official royal visits to Israel, which is even more powerful for its being unwritten and unacknowledged. As an act of delegitimization of Israel, this effective boycott is quite as serious as other similar acts, such as the academic boycott, and is the direct fault of the FO Arabists.”

It may be tempting to dismiss this lack of a royal state visit with a shrug and a “So What?” But economic as well as diplomatic benefits would be likely to accrue – for both countries.

As the Minister for Commercial Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in London the executive director of the British Israel Chamber of Commerce pointed out in 2007, when there was speculation that Prince Charles might announce an official visit to Israel: “A visit by Prince Charles would bring with it new people and companies.” And as the Executive Director of the British Israel Chamber of Commerce remarked at that time: “At the heart of any high-profile visit to Israel is the branding of Israel as a normal country where business can flourish.”  But the Foreign Office is evidently far more interested in pursuing commercial relations with the Gulf States, and the behaviour of the present Coalition government reinforces that view.

If, as he told Anglo-Jewry's Community Security Trust recently, David Cameron's support for Israel really is "indestructible," he should ensure that the Foreign Office rectify this wrong, and schedule a royal state visit to Israel.

As the Daily Telegraph's deputy editor, Benedict Brogan, observes in an absolute corker of a pro-Israel op-ed (please read it: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100079268/if-we-truly-are-israel%E2%80%99s-friend-then-now-is-the-time-to-show-it/):

‘So why, then, is Israel so uneasy about Britain? What is it that prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to tell The Daily Telegraph, just days before Mr Cameron spoke, that he is “worried” about this country? Why, when our Prime Minister speaks of his “indestructible” support, did Mr Netanyahu raise the “huge issue” of the decline in backing for Israel in the West and notably in the UK?

The truth is that relations between Jerusalem and London are bad, drifting to worse. British diplomacy has lost interest in Israel as an interlocutor; Israel, in turn, is increasingly of the view that the UK has turned from an indestructible ally into a gullible host for the global campaign to undermine its legitimacy. At a time when the affairs of the Middle East should preoccupy us all, Britain gives the impression of being indifferent to the concerns of a country that is not just the only democracy in the neighbourhood, but also one of our paramount allies in the fight against militant Islamism that Mr Cameron professes to consider a priority.
It is too easy to miss the importance that Britain, and London in particular, has acquired in the insidious campaign that is patiently hacking away at the global foundations of Israel’s existence. Dressed up in modish arguments about human rights, there has been an inexorable rebranding of Israel as an oppressive colonial power. Those who peddle this idea are happy to let the unspoken implication eat its way into the public consciousness: colonial powers eventually have to pack up and leave.
Mr Cameron is not the first premier to laud the reach of the English language and the clout it gives us in a globalised world. What he does not mention is that English is being used to spread the “de legitimisation” argument, and we are providing the megaphone. Together, the BBC and the internet act as an echo chamber for a coalition of religious and political campaign groups and academics of all stripes – some of them Jewish – pumping out a propaganda campaign of explicit and implicit hostility to Israel. No other country has a media with a global reach to match that of the UK, and yet the overwhelming message that it sends around the world is that Israel is the cuckoo in the nest, the obstacle to peace and prosperity in the Arab world....
William Hague, in enough trouble this week for his inexplicable decision to make public his uncertainty about being Foreign Secretary, has made no secret of his frustration with Israel....
It seems that Mr Netanyahu is unlikely to visit the UK this year. And I am told that there are no plans for Mr Cameron to visit Israel. Yet it is more essential than ever that the relationship between the two countries be strengthened, rather than be allowed to weaken. For once, next year in Jerusalem is not good enough. The Prime Minister should find a reason to visit his friends and tell them, face to face, why our links are indestructible.’

16 comments:

  1. On The Daily Politics the other day Andrew Neil referred to the British Foreign Office as the "Camel Corp " and the ex British ambassador he was interviewing laughed in approval.

    Say's it all.

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  2. Then Andrew Neil goes up in my estimation, Steve - he seems to be canny about the Muslim Brotherhood too, judging from the hard time he gave that Helbawy character recently!

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  3. Do you have a link to the talk by Andrew Roberts?

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  4. I was remiss in not providing one, Eric - have a look at this:
    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=163066

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  5. Prince Philip should go and visit his mothers grave at the Mount of Olives

    or they could go to northern ireland and visit their own wall
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_lines

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  6. Sadly, I think the F.O. is a pro-Arabist nest of vipers and the insultingly obvious failure to visit Israel is proof of this.

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  7. Anonymous, There is no 'wall' in Northern Ireland. There are several walls in various areas. They are there not as containment (Berlin Wall/Iron Curtain/Prison) or as exclusion (Hadrian's Wall, The Great Wall of China etc Defensive) but to keep two warring parties apart until they can learn to live in peace.

    The wall/mostly fence in Israel is designed to exclude the suicide bombers and other terrorists and is therefore defensive in nature.

    Propaganda serves only to exacerbate diffcult situations when clear thinking and accurate facts are what is needed.

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  8. There are 2778 comments to the Benedict Brogan post leaving all other commented-on-articles in the dust. Most, of course, are anti-Israel. Question: why do so many feel they're experts when it comes to Israel and yet have so few opinions regarding other international trouble spots?

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  9. Many thanks for the comments, Anon, David, Ian and Bella. Sorry I've been tardy in acknowledging them.
    In 2007 the Jewish Chronicle reported:
    “Twenty years ago, Britain’s Foreign Office went as far as to endorse the certificates given by the Arab League to companies boycotting Israel. But today most experts agree that the Foreign Office is not so much Arabist, but that its perception of British interests in the Middle East could rule out a full royal visit to Israel.
    Yossi Mekelberg, Middle East expert at Chatham House, said: “Glubb Pasha is dead. The old-fashioned, instinctively pro-Arab camp does not exist any more. The Foreign Office is very professional and looks at British interests, whether those interests are in the Arab world or in Israel.”
    Neill Lochery, director of Israel studies at University College London, said the controversy came at a time when relations between Israel and the UK were their best for many years. “One day there will be an official royal visit to Israel and it will happen naturally. I don’t think the modern-day Foreign Office is anti-Israel.”
    I think we'll we waiting till the next Ice Age ...

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  10. Well if she ever does plan to come to Israel, she should be refused.

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  11. Bella wrote:


    "why do so many feel they're experts when it comes to Israel and yet have so few opinions regarding other international trouble spots?"


    Because they, being culturally Christian-European (Christian and post-Christian), "know", that, even if they "know" nothing else, "know" that, "of course", "The Jews Are Guilty".

    ----

    My ethnicity is Jewish (Jewish-Russian(Ukrainian)-Polish).

    The existential view that I hold, and the path of practice that I strive to follow, is Theravada Buddhism.

    The political views that I hold are those of Classical Liberalism (Jeffersonian Liberalism).

    ----

    The following are links to an audio recording (presented as a video; and split into two parts) of a reading, by Oriana Fallaci, of an article, by Oriana Fallaci, which describes, and denounces, the current state of the political Left in Western (culturally Christian-European (Christian and post-Christian)) countries. Orianna wrote the article in 2002.

    "ORIANA FALLACI - ON ANTISEMITISM-I find it shameful\SULL'ANTISEMITISMO-Io trovo vergognoso (pt.1/2)"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS9Dl5YEy3o

    "ORIANA FALLACI - ON ANTISEMITISM-I find it shameful\SULL'ANTISEMITISMO-Io trovo vergognoso (pt.2/2)"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anTPuAQ1oUU

    ----

    The following is a link to an excellent essay about the antipathetic bigoted wrong views that are held about, and the antipathy that is felt toward, Israel, by many culturally Christian-European (Christian and post-Christian) people. The essay is posted, as a series of several comments, by an anonymous commenter (who is not myself), on a post, called "Lies, lies, and lies about lies", on the blog "A Liberal Defence of Israel", by Denis MacEoin. Denis MacEoin is a scholar on Islam and is fluent in Arabic.

    http://mid-eastplus.blogspot.com/2010/07/lies-lies-and-lies-about-lies.html?showComment=1279117634509#c4188327328578745386

    ----

    The following is an article that describes and explains the antipathetic anti-Jewish bigoted prejudice that is a normal, deeply engrained, part of Western (culturally Christian-European (Christian and post-Christian)) culture, and which is the root factor that is causing the members of the academic, and journalistic, and political, classes of Western countries to be vilifying Israel, and colluding with the Islamic supremacist political movement.

    "Worth a Thousand Words: Picturing the Antisemitic Imagination", by Catherine Chatterley; The article is further down from the top of the page to which the following link is a link
    http://web.mac.com/catherinechatterley/Catherine_Chatterley/Publications.html

    ----

    The following is a link to a comment that I recently posted on the blog Augean Stable, and which is constituted by excerpts from two articles by Matthias Küntzel and by excerpts from an article by Ruth Wisse, and which clearly explains the vilification of Israel, and the collusion with the modern Islamic supremacist political movement, that the members of the academic, and journalistic, and political, classes of Western countries are engaging in.

    http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2011/03/08/gleanings-07-03-11/#comment-551781

    ----

    Daniel Bielak

    The reality of Israeli life and the reality of the 'Palestinian movement'
    http://www.youtube.com/danielbielak

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  12. Daniel, thank you for the link to the Oriana Fallaci video, which I might post later.

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  13. Daphne Anson,

    You're very welcome.

    Thank you for defending Israel and Jewish people against the current Western, and Islamic supremacist, tsunami of racist, malicious, Medieval-era-like, Nazi-era-like, lies.

    I apologize for the spelling mistakes, and other grammatical mistakes in my previous comment.

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  14. Many thanks again! When I first began blogging I thought I would manage a grand total of half a dozen posts - but there is so much happening that half a dozen per day wouldn't be hard!

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  15. With all due DISrespect, the queen seems to have many more family ties to Arabs/Muslims than to the Jewish people, eg an uncle who more than sympathised with Hitler, a daughter-in-law (and mother of the future King of England) who frolicked on boats and in beds, with the the son of the Arab owner of Harrods...to mention but two...

    I never found the queen to be a "beauty", but, in the photo above her looks might have nearly benefited from the whole hog ie a full-on chador, perhaps next time...

    I am really disgusted and, although just across the chanel at the moment, I certainly will not visit Londonistan, England having become very unattractive. YUK !

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  16. Londonistan is not a pretty prospect, Rita. I cannot believe that a great nation has so recklessly ruined itself.

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