British government furious over Peres' response to Cameron's dhimmitudeShimon Peres had an unkind but justified response to British Prime Minister David Cameron's pandering to the Turks this past week (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Shimon Peres said England was "deeply pro-Arab ... and anti-Israeli", adding: "They always worked against us."Peres has a long memory.
He added: "There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary."
Mr Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is three years into his seven-year term as president and was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen in 2008, said that England's attitude towards Jews was Israel's "next big problem".Unsurprisingly, Peres has upset a lot of 'senior' British MP's. He has also apparently upset some British 'Jewish leaders' who are too busy watching their collective backs to notice what is going on under their noses.
"There are several million Muslim voters, and for many members of parliament, that's the difference between getting elected and not getting elected," he said.
"And in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment.
"They abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 UN partition resolution ... They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s ... They always worked against us. They think the Arabs are the underdogs."
But following his comments, James Clappison, the Conservative MP for Hertsmere and vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: "Mr Peres has got this wrong.Peres is far from the only one in Israel who sees Britain as anti-Semitic.
"There are pro- and anti-Israel views in all European countries. Things are certainly no worse, as far as Israel is concerned, in this country than other European countries."
The MP added that he could "understand the frustration" that people in Israel felt with "certain elements of the British broadcast media" which present an unbalanced view of Israel.
He said: "I can understand Mr Peres' concerns, but I don't recognise what he is saying about England."
Some leading Jewish commentators in Britain disagreed. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, minister of Maidenhead synagogue and a writer and broadcaster, said: "I am surprised at Peres. It is a sweeping statement that is far too one-sided.
"Britain has supported both Israel and Arab causes at different periods over the last 50 years. There are elements of anti-semitism but it is not endemic to British society.
"The tolerance and pluralism here make Britain one of the best countries in the world in which to live."
Mr Peres found support, however, from other pro-Israeli groups. Jacob Vince, the director of Christian Friends of Israel, said there was anti-semitism in the UK although many people had a positive view of Israel but were unwilling to express it publicly.
Mr Vince said it was "difficult to see how many MPs would not be influenced by the number of Muslim voters in their constituencies".
The Government was not treating Arabs as the underdogs but rather was trying to appease them, he said. "The question is how well they understand those with whom they are seeking conciliation."
Yet in Israel, Mr Peres is far from alone in holding such views, which have gained a wider following, particularly on the Right, since the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over accusations that Mossad sent agents using British passports to assassinate a Hamas commander in Dubai.Of course, the Telegraph might have mentioned that the Brits had no objections when a group of Russian spies was caught in the US using British passports.... That's precisely the sort of double standard that makes many of us in Israel believe that Britain is anti-Semitic.
But perhaps the funniest line of all is the Telegraph quoting Benny Begin in shock over Peres having made the comment.
Benny Begin, a cabinet minister whose father Menachem was prime minister and before that leader of Irgun, the group that killed 91 people in an attack on Jerusalem's King David Hotel in 1946, said: "Peres? I simply can't believe he said that."Maybe the Telegraph isn't aware of the historical context for that statement (Peres was David Ben Gurion's chief aide. Ben Gurion and Benny Begin's father were rivals - Ben Gurion led the Haganah and Begin led the Irgun. The rivalry culminated in Ben Gurion ordering Yitzchak Rabin to fire on the Altalena, an arms ship that was trying to bring weapons to the Jewish state to battle the British-backed Jordanians during the War of Independence).
Yes, the Brits have a long history of anti-Semitism and a long history of favoring the Arabs over Israel. It's curious that they suddenly object to having it pointed out.