Raheem Kassam: Cameron Talks a Good Talk on Israel, But do his Promises Stack Up?
While Cameron said Britain opposes boycotts of Israel, a number of UK universities still target the Jewish State, and Britain has not once spoken out against the United Nations' bias against Israel.Cameron’s Knesset Speech: Closer to Australia and Canada than Obama
Furthermore, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still routinely works with organisations that are overtly hostile to Israel, and advocate one-state solution as well as boycotts. This needs to be stamped out if Cameron can truly stake a claim to his comment that "delegitimising the State of Israel is wrong. It is abhorrent, and together we will defeat it."
The mainstay of anti-Israel sentiment within the British government comes not from Left-wing MPs either, but mainly the FCO. Previously, FCO staffers have been found to be overtly pro-Palestinian, and even the Foreign Minister, Alistair Burt, was set to speak at an anti-Israel Friends of Al-Asqa event at the Conservative Party Conference last year.
Whereas Obama has threatened Israel that it will become more internationally isolated, Cameron asserted, “No more excuses for the 32 countries who refuse to recognize Israel,” and described as “outrageous” and “ridiculous” the lectures Israel receives at the UN. And Cameron also broke with Obama doctrine, and no doubt the thinking of his own diplomatic service, by refuting the notion that Israel and the absence of an agreement with the Palestinians is causing the problems in the region. Rather, Cameron spoke at considerable length about the “poison” of Islamism. A peace agreement would not stop Iran, noted Cameron, and he stressed that he was not “starry-eyed about the new regime” and shared Israel’s “skepticism” on that front.Cameron wants to do business with Israel. No one cares what the 'boycott Israel' fanatics think
If the attitude expressed in this speech were implemented as British policy, then Cameron would rightfully earn himself a place alongside Stephen Harper, Australia’s Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop, and the English speaking leaders of the West. Meanwhile Obama is earning himself a place alongside Martin Shulz and the Europeans.
I doubt if David Cameron had time to scroll through Twitter before he left for Israel this morning. But if he had been on the lookout for Israel-related tweets, he couldn't have failed to notice the hashtag #BDS.BDSers: here’s your chance for martyrdom
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel makes a lot of noise. Twitter is awash with #BDS tweets, implying that the extremists who demand that the West stop buying goods produced by Jews are in the ascendancy.
The reality is rather different.
Bilateral trade between the UK and Israel is booming to an extent never before imagined. Last year it was estimated by the FCO at £5.1 billion. Growth is accelerating every year.
Speaking today to the Knesset in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Cameron denounced the anti-Israel BDS movement and noted:
“[Israeli technology] is providing Britain’s National Health Service with one in six of its prescription medicines through Teva and it has produced the world’s first commercially available upright walking technology which enabled a British paraplegic woman to walk the 2012 London Marathon. And together British and Israeli technical expertise can achieve so much more.”