Questions are often asked of the British government’s approach to their supposed ally, Israel. I ask these questions all the time.
It unnerves me when Foreign Office documents show a prejudice or knee-jerk skepticism towards Israel’s actions in defending themselves, and how many Western media outlets are so gung-ho in reported Israel in a bad light.
Which is why last night I was encouraged by the words of the British Foreign Secretary at the Conservative Friends of Israel reception which took place at the annual Conservative Party conference.
Hague said the UK would have ‘no truck’ with those who seek to delegitimise Israel, and gave a number of examples of how the UK and Israel continue to work together.
It’s not an ideal relationship yet. The Foreign Office must be reformed before the understanding is truly realised that as a functioning and liberal democracy in the region, Israel must receive far better treatment from its allies than it currently does.
But nevertheless, Hague’s speech was important. He uttered reassuring statements about Britain’s position towards Iran, and urged a renewal of negotiations – hopefully putting the kibosh on any British support of a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence.
However the Foreign Secretary must improve his rhetoric on Hezbollah. Calling for just the military wing to be banned in Europe is not enough. This is an arbitrary distinction, as we at the Henry Jackson Society outlined in a recent paper on the topic.
It is easy to remain pessimistic about the relationship between Britain and her ally in Israel, but last night gave me some hope. And the Conservative Friends of Israel are to be commended for that.