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)

Friday 9 July 2010

Britain's Beirut Envoy - another Foreign Office Arabist kind of Guy

There she sits, hunched forward,  her crowning glory hidden beneath a scarf, smilingly catching his every word.  Frances Guy, Britain's ambassador to Lebanon, and Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the popular Shia cleric who passed away a few days ago. 

Sheikh Fadlallah apparently had many sterling qualities -  his progressive view of women's role and status being just one of them - and attracted numerous admirers.

However, the man said to be Hezbollah's spiritual leader had less palatable views regarding Israel and the West.  He justified terror. He wanted Israel annihilated. For instance, he encouraged suicide bombers against the Jewish State, declaring that "All of Palestine is a war zone and every Jew who unlawfully occupies a house or land belonging to a Palestinian is a legitimate target.  There are no innocent Jews in Palestine."  He declared that Zionists had vastly exaggerated the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. And he praised the deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Beirut 27 years ago.
Notwithstanding all that, Ambassador Guy has blogged a eulogy for Sheikh Fadlallah, in which she reveals him as her "favourite politician" (hat tip: Elder of Ziyon).  In the course of that eulogy - headed "The passing of decent men" - she has not made any attempt to dissociate herself from his uncompromising attitude towards Israel.

Is this acceptable to the British Foreign Office - whose Arabist predilections are well-known though sometimes (weakly and implausibly) denied: that their envoy to one country should be permitted to express adulation for a politically influential  public figure of that country who advocates violence against the citizens of another country and, for good measure, that country's destruction?  A country that is an ally, no less, of Britain? Is this the shameful reality of Britain today?

[Update: Ms Guy's ill-conceived eulogy has now mysteriously disappeared into cyber heaven; however, a screen-shot of her extraordinary post may be viewed on Elder of Ziyon's blog, official Foreign and Commonwealth Office heading and all. ]

[Further update: as of Friday morning, the post is retrievable via Bing - but not Google.  Type her name into Bing and when the start of the post appears onscreen press Cached Page, and you'll get it all - except, that is, for the comments accompanying it.]


  1. Foreign office Arabism meets post-modern cultural relativism. Welcome to the UK.

  2. One word, three letters.....oil.


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