By Stephen Pollard
January 22, 2009
UPDATE: The FCO have categorically denied the story at the end of this post:
We do not recognise this account of the Foreign Secretary's remarks. He categorically did not say what Stephen Pollard attributes to him. The Foreign Secretary has not questioned, and nor would he, the nationality or loyalties of either Britain's Jewish community or other communities in the UK. As he has said many times, Britain's diversity is its strength.
So I think it's appropriate to say it is without foundation.
But there's an interesting lesson here nonetheless. I couldn't get a dickie bird out of the FCO when I was trying to find out if it was indeed true. But the moment I put up the story here as a rumour doing the rounds (I heard it from a number of entirely unconnected but very senior and respected people) they were swift to deny it. Maybe they should be a bit swifter to deal with such enquiries in future.
There is a disturbing story doing the round about David Miliband. To be upfront, we have not been able to get confirmation - or, for that matter, a denial - from anyone at the meeting.
The word is that, at a meeting last week with a group of senior Jewish community figures, he told them that they should "tell your government" to stop bombing Gaza.
Relations between Mr Miliband and the Jewish community are pretty bad already; if this story turns out to be true, then they will - rightly - be at rock bottom.
Does Mr Miliband really need to be told that the government of which he is a member is our government; we are British citizens. And the idea that Jews owe allegiance to a foreign power is one of the worst of the many traditional antisemitic canards.
If the story is untrue, please tell us, Mr Miliband. I would want nothing more than to write that it is nonsense.