Michael McCann
Michael McCann

Britain and Israel must be united against terror

Britain has always faced terror threats.

However, such attacks have usually being punctuated with relatively long periods of calm.

No doubt that is in large part down to the work of our security services that, by necessity, work in the dark places where terror attacks are hatched to protect our country and our freedoms.

In our democracy they walk the tightrope of making the call about when to act, when to observe, when to monitor, when to arrest, when to recommend that the terror threat be raised and when it should be lowered.

They must groan each time they are attacked by a journalist who, from the comfort of their ergonomically designed computer chair, offers a critique of their work.

They can rarely defend themselves and must instead bite their lips and take comfort from the knowledge that on any given day their unseen work has saved countless lives.

2017 has been different.

Westminster attack, 22 March.

Manchester attack, 22 May.

London Bridge, 3 June.

Finsbury Park, 19 June.

Four attacks in 89 days.

And we don’t and won’t know how many other attacks have been foiled and what happens next.

What we do know is that there is one other democracy in the world that has dealt with these types of attacks more regularly than any other and that’s Israel.

It infuriates me, and perhaps you feel the same way, that we have become so desensitised to the threats faced by others.

We can watch carnage in the Middle East on our TVs and then detach ourselves with the view that it doesn’t happen here.

Well those 89 days from March to June prove that it does happen here and that terror whether it’s in Tel Aviv, Sderot, Manchester or London is terror.

We know that in the aftermath of attacks governments talk to each other but it’s now even more important than ever that those ties are made permanent.

The IBA wants to ensure that the Anglo-Israel relationship is strengthened as a permanent bulwark against the threats we face.

That’s why we have started out United Against Terror campaign.

We also wanted to highlight the work of Heads Up, a UK based charity supported by leading Israeli mental health experts.

This band of dedicated people who have experience of high trauma incidents in Israel supported the people of Manchester and London after the gruesome attacks.

They’ve never asked for recognition but my goodness they deserve it and that’s why we are asking MPs of all parties to drop them a letter and let them know that we appreciate their support and solidarity.

Britain’s relationship with Israel is far too often defined by other issues.

They are important issues but the bigger battle we face is existential.

It’s against an ideology that says that the way we live our lives is unacceptable.

And that, I believe, trumps everything else.

If we learn just one lesson from those 89 days it’s this: adversity let’s you know who your friends are.

To join the campaign go to www.israelbritain.org.uk/JN

About the Author
Michael McCann is a former Labour MP and is now Director, Israel Britain Alliance
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