A Letter to the Foreign Secretary on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334
Also forwarded to the Prime Minister's Office and my own MP
Dear Mr Johnson,
As a supporter of Brexit and a longstanding Conservative voter, I have been pleased to see you in post as the Foreign Secretary. I know you have a keen conscience, retain your investigative instincts, listen to persuasive argument and are not easily cowed into following the herd for following's sake.
I appreciate you may have little direct involvement practical influence over affairs at the UN, being so recently in position and having other weighty matters to consider. Nevertheless I crave a few moments thought and focus, on a matter which is just as seminal to our own nation's character and future.
However I wish to express my outrage at the UK's vote for UNSCR 2334 against Israel's habitations outside the 1948 Armistice Line.
It may well be argued that this is a merely a continuation of longstanding UK policy on Israel settlements in what the British explorers described as Judea and Samaria, but is now labelled with the deracinated and anodyne description of West Bank, as though 3000 years of Jewish history have not had any connection with the territory. The argument would of course be correct, but itself displays the same degree of wilful deracination from British history, as the UN description.
The most historically challenged student of our past knows that since Cromwell, and under the influence of the polestars of Puritan theology, Owen, Goodwin, Greenhill, and their successors the Wesleys, Gill, Spurgeon, Ryle, Murray M'Cheyne, Bonar, and Wilberforce to name but a very few, the UK has had an unusual and exceptional role in advocating Jewish emancipation and in seeking to support a return from exile for the Jews.
This reached its zenith in the 19th century and culminated in the Balfour declaration, despite the theological collapse of the National Church into idolatry of Mother Nature, which ripped away the undergirdings of this Biblical sympathy. The storied account of Lord Shaftesbury's role in lobbying for this extraordinary event, and the role of many Jews and Christians in stirring the first roots of political Zionism, long before Herzl are described meticulously in Donald Lewis' work on Shaftesbury and Christian Zionism (OUP, Amazon's link
Since Ramsey MacDonald's betrayal of the Mandate in his 1931 letter, limiting immigration to what was perceived as the economic absorptive capacity of the land, a capacity only truly displayed in 1948 when 100,000s of Jews were forced to flee to Israel after its attempted annihilation from the same Arab lands where many of the new refugees had been resident for well over 2,000 years. This is the rotten foundation of current policy which you inherit, and it is no exaggeration that it has resulted in the death and extreme suffering of hundreds of thousands of escapees from Nazism, against whom our nation deliberately closed the door to their ancient homeland.
No doubt oil money or the scent of it played a huge role in this change of heart, as it does now, but oil power is waning and looks to continue to wane as other sources of oil and energy proliferate. No doubt arms sales also dictate a large role in this, and support a large sector of our economy. However having worked and lived in an Arab country for several years, Arab merchandisers are more interested in quality and edge than they are in ideology, they may posture and threaten, but at the end of the day, they are keen judges of quality.
In short to vote against Jewish habitation in East Jerusalem in the Jewish sector is infamous, it is to side with the tyrants, as Patrick Moynihan said, is to join the jackals. Is that really how your term at CFO will be remembered?
To vote against Jewish habitation near Shechem (aka Nablus, or 'Neopolis' after its renaming) where Abraham first stayed in Canaan and bought land, Gideon judged, or Hebron, also a city of refuge, where David ruled before he came to Jerusalem, to vote against Jewish co-existence with Palestinians in Judea, to make it Judenrein - is that a contemporary British value? Our nobler forebears would groan.
I would add it is also profoundly inconsistent to follow the herd of international lawyers and jurists in claiming that Palestinian land, captured in a defensive war against considerable force, is more of an international shame and problem not only than the bloodbath in Syria, the annexation of Crimea and Abkhazia, but also other occupied territories in which settlement has proceeded apace like Western Sahara, East Timor, Northern Cyprus. The use of the Geneva Convention to condemn Israel is shamelessly exceptional and unjust. There is no apartheid within Israel, the real apartheid is being applied to
Israel, by us and our companions in the UNSC. See article in TOI
or a sharp but recent & celebrated academic work here
It may be argued that this vote helps the Palestinians. Their corrupt and nefarious leadership claim this. However having served and helped Palestinian refugees personally, I am fed up of 'assistance' which merely disguises a disingenuous attempt to attack the Jews, now so prevalent in the international community. The Palestinians have repeatedly been the worst victims of Antisemitism. Where is the pressure to teach their children peace, where is the funding to promote real cooperation, instead of pandering to the worst and most violent instincts? Spend a little time at Palestinian Media Watch and be horrified. This vote at the UNSC will only pour petrol on the flames. Peace is not zero sum gain, how can it be? Support Israel's mainstream and you will support the ordinary Palestinian people. Hit Israel like this and the injury will extend to the poor and needy of the Palestinian territories, even if the kleptocrats rejoice.
When Donald Trump moves the US embassy to East Jerusalem, how long will the Foreign Office hold out, before it bows to the pressure to follow suit?
How many years has the CFO prevented the Queen visiting the land from which she takes her own name? A name which describes exactly what Britain has not done, keep its promise to the Jews.
Mr Johnson, what legacy will you leave at the Foreign Office? One of principle and wisdom or of expedience and the corruption that has sadly characterised so many of your recent forebears?
I shall be writing in a similar vein to the Prime Minister and my own MP,
Best wishes and prayers,
Edited modestly since. (27/12/16)
A cursory reply by an anonymous and somewhat careless official at the CFO.
Our reference: EMOP/391/2017
26 January 2017
Dear Mr Sopher,
Thank you for your emails of 26 December and 2 and 13 January to the Foreign Secretary about Israel and United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2334. The Near East Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been asked to reply.
The UK voted for UNSCR 2334 because of our support for the two-state solution and commitment to Israel as the Jewish homeland. The UK’s support for UNSCR 2334 is consistent with our long-standing position that Israeli settlement activity is illegal and undermines the viability of two states for two peoples. The resolution was an Egyptian draft and not co-sponsored by the UK. The UK engaged with Security Council members before the vote as we do with all Security Council texts. We focused on securing a balanced text that included calls to end incitement and terrorism.
The UK will continue to reject any efforts to de-legitimise or undermine Israel. As the Prime Minister stated in her speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel in December, the UK remains one of Israel’s strongest friends. As a true friend it is important that we stress that settlements are illegal and tarnish Israel’s international credibility. But we are clear that settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.
The UK believes that bilateral negotiations, which take account of the legitimate concerns of both sides, offer the best path to peace. We had particular reservations about the Paris conference on 15 January because it did not involve the governments of either Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The UK therefore attended under observer status and did not sign the joint communiqué.
The UK’s long-standing position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed, and realistic settlement for refugees.
On behalf of the
Near East Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Dear anonymous FCO official,
Spelling your correspondent's name incorrectly is an inauspicious start to a rather misdirected reply to genuine concerns, however it dwarves the other errors in the reply.
Believing that the Western Wall of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, in which Jews were a majority since the 1850s, is 'illegally occupied territory' has never been British policy, or I'd be grateful for documentary evidence of this.
Britain was the mandatory power, entrusted with the Mandate for Palestine by the League of Nations, and although the UK has itself illegally recognised only Jordan's aggressive seizure of East Jerusalem, in a position quite unique among world powers, even Britain never claimed that sites so profoundly rooted in Jewish history were foreign territory to Israel.
The two state solution was founded upon Oslo agreement. Quite apart from this policy now being outmoded and irrelevant, because of the almost complete non-compliance of one party, UNSCR 2334 exploded what remnants there were left of the tattered agreement, by uprooting its foundation, namely agreement by mutual consent of both parties. Britain shamefully voted in favour of this act of demolition.
The British Government has renegued on its solemn international commitments to the Jewish people since 1917 and 1922
, betrayed its trust of the Palestinian Arabs by pandering to and encouraging its worst and most corrupt leaders, funded and indirectly encouraged violence and the incitement of violence against civilians, both Jewish and Arab over decades, and now it claims the high moral ground?
Give me a break.
A moral reckoning will be weighed meticulously for this historic and exemplary act of hypocrisy, for the wheels of justice grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.
I am not Jewish, and a British born British citizen from a British family that is traceable back for a 1,000 years at least on my mother's side, but I have never been so ashamed of my own country, and the Commonwealth and Foreign Office in particular, it has become a disgrace, as its illustrious forebears still witness,