The queues outside the Palace of Westminster, The Houses of Parliament, were longer than usual. A five minute security check had become 35 minutes. And the presence of more armed police was also notable.

The reverberations of the events of Paris were clear to see for me and my fellow queuers.

Once through the mandatory checks, now armed with nothing more threatening than my lanyard and visitors pass, I wondered through the Great Hall and onwards and upwards to Committee Room 14.

One of the great privileges of being British and one of the remarkable things about our “home of government” is that any visitor is entitled to wander through our ancient vibrant seat of political power freely (as long as you remember to display that visitors pass). This is liberté….

I took my seat in Committee Room 14 and settled in as we were welcomed by the ever charming Guto Bebb (Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Aberconwy and member of the Conservative Friends of Israel).  We were introduced to the Spanish ambassador and her entourage and the erudite and admirable José Maria Aznar, Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. Here to talk about Israel, the indomitable friend of The West. This is fraternité….

And so it was that Senor Aznar explained in the simplest and clearest of terms how just one simple perspective change matters. “Judging Israel by standards that are not only impossible to fulfil, but also that are not applied to the rest of nations should not be accepted as normal”. This is egalité…..

Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. An anathema to the terrorists and the haters, but personified in the words of José Maria Aznar. And with the events of Paris still raw in our hearts, he talked with a balance of sentiment and structure somehow missing from much of the mesmerising rhetoric and hysteria surrounding us in Europe since that awful murderous evening last week.

The Friends of Israel Initiative is an extraordinary project which is created and run by a global cross cultural and national community who see

  • “…Israel as a country full of promise and a democracy with all the virtues and defects of any other democracy.”
  • “….The positive effect of having Israel, a strong Israel, at our side. Having a secure Israel means more security for us; having a prosperous Israel enriches us all. Thinking the opposite is simply wrong.”

The Friends of Israel Iinitiative

Please take the time to read Israel: A Vital Asset of The West.

Download the major report here: Friends of Israel Initiative Report: Israel A Vital Asset Of The West

Friends of Israel InitiativeJosé María Aznar

Friends of Israel Initiative

José María Aznar

All we want is a normal and reasonable conversation about Israel. Surely, that is not too much to ask.

José María Aznar

Postscript: Sadly, as I returned to my office that afternoon, I read news from Spain of another moral inequality (Israel News reports on a Spanish Judge who wants to arrest Israeli politicians for War Crimes). It would appear that a Spanish judge had ordered the arrest of Netanyahu and seven other current and former government ministers in relation to the actions of Israel and the Mavi Marmara. Despite the fact that four legal enquiries had not found against Israel’s actions, this judge appeared to be making a legal exception to the Israeli officials. Holding Israel to a different account, just as we discussed.

For all the positives I left Committee Room 14 with, this brought me back down to earth with an unpleasant bump. As Senor Aznar remarked, a perfect example of “sentiment over policy”.

Cuanto mas cambian las cosas, mas iguales se quedan……

(the more things change, the more they stay the same)

But I remain hopeful whilst there are people like Senor Aznar rooting for Israel.