By Jonathan Hoffman
December 24, 2012
I have previously documented offensive comments by Foreign Office Arabists:
Now JC blog commenter ‘happygoldfish’ has drawn our attention to a speech 11 days ago by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles. Cowper-Coles had a token posting to Israel (2001-3) but that was preceded by a posting to Cairo and followed by one to Riyadh. Last year Cowper-Coles followed the time-honoured path of other FCO Arabists, smoothing the path for BAE systems to sell defence and aerospace products to the Arabs.
The speech (“What the Arabs Really Want”) contains several offensive calumnies about Israel and Jews. The first is straight from Walt and Mearsheimer:
Helping America break the stranglehold that an ill-informed Israel lobby has over American politics is the biggest single contribution that we can make …
My review of Walt/Mearsheimer on Amazon is here:
Like Walt/Mearsheimer, Cowper-Coles’ comment has elements of classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.
And like Lord Andrew Phillips (see my last blog), it’s when they proclaim their love for us that we need to start worrying:
I say this as a Hebrew-speaking, former Ambassador to Israel, someone who has deep affection for the Jewish people. I believe passionately that Israel on its present course is embarked on a pathway to assisted suicide: suicide assisted by the Congress of the United States.
The moral bankruptcy inherent in one who sells weapons to Israel's enemies pontificating about Israel's supposed path to 'suicide' will surely not be lost on any fair-minded person.
Then we get the false Apartheid comparison (Nazi comparisons are beyond the pale for ex-diplomats but not Apartheid ones):
The idea that this problem can be solved by walling up the Palestinians in the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Bantustans, which the South African Government embarked on in the 1940s, is not only offensive morally, it is deeply out of keeping with everything we know of human history. It will not work, it cannot work, it should not work. And anyone who has a real affection for the Jewish people will want to help them avoid this looming disaster, further disaster in their history.
Such breathtaking falsehood about the true nature of the Security Fence – to save lives, both Jewish and non-Jewish – can only be construed as wilful malevolence. Especially from someone who served in Israel as an Ambassador when suicide bombing was rife! But there’s more to come:
And one of the collateral benefits of peace with Israel, a just settlement in Palestine, will be, if I may put it crudely, to put the Jews back in the Middle East. Because, one of the many examples of collateral damage from the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, has been to remove the cultural and commercial yeast which the Jewish communities provided in Baghdad, in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Cairo, in Alexandria, right across the Middle East.
The notion that if it were not for Israel, Jews would be living happily in the Arab Middle East is breathtakingly offensive and ignorant. Jews were subjected to racist attacks in that part of the world long before the creation of Israel.
… it was possible to go by bus from Cairo to Tel Aviv and back again, and one saw the beginnings of engagement, but it was all abandoned with good reason starting with the attack on the Osirak reactor.
Another blatant distortion of history. Israel attacked Osirak in 1981. To suggest that this was the event that soured relations between Israel and the Arab Middle East is to conveniently airbrush out of history the Hebron Massacre (1929), the Arab refusal to accept UN Partition (1947), the attempt by Egypt, Syria and Jordan to obliterate Israel (1967) and the 1973 attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria.
Those who claim to be friends and then shamelessly falsify history to demonise Israel must be exposed and should be shunned by polite society, regardless of titles or letters after their names.