Middle East Weapons Salesman (ex-FCO) thinks Israel "on Path to Assisted Suicide"

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.



Mon, 12/24/2012 - 14:14

Rate this:

-1 points

Cowper-Coles hardly inspires trust having "leaked" a French diplomat's cable critical of the French and the US. He also "leaked" a fellow Brits memo regarding the US and Obama.

Alarm bells ring like mad when I read that this F.O.arms salesman/dealer and a distorter of history is offering Israel his unsolicited advice.


Thu, 12/27/2012 - 11:08

Rate this:

0 points

yes, yes yes . . . didn't Suzanna quote the ex ambassador last week?

Anyway, she also mentioned the good news about Veolia pulling out of North London – See, supporting apartheid doesn't pay does it?


Thu, 12/27/2012 - 11:18

Rate this:

0 points


And here is a little article in the local press (no not the JC) that will interst Jonathan. Didn't you mention something about being involved in lobbying Hackney Council?


Fri, 12/28/2012 - 18:30

Rate this:

2 points

alistair burt is the most junior minister at the fco (foreign and commonwealth office)

(he is parliamentary under-secretary of state … according to wikipedia: the Duke of Devonshire noted "No one who hasn't been a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State has any conception of how unimportant a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State is")

an fco release of 26/12/2012 quotes alistair burt

We also condemn [the recent settlement expansion announcements]. These are further profoundly provocative actions that run contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention. By taking these steps, despite the international community repeatedly raising our profound concerns, the Israeli Government is damaging Israel’s international reputation.

alistair burt has a limited idea of what is "profoundly provocative"

  • sponsoring a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant is profoundly provocative
  • naming a street after mass murderer abu jihad is "profoundly provocative"
  • naming a youth soccer tournament, and its teams, after suicide bombers, is "profoundly provocative"
  • naming a community centre after the instigator of the munich olympics massacre is "profoundly provocative"
  • publishing hate-filled school textbooks, and antisemitic cartoons on childrens tv, is "profoundly provocative"
  • (the above examples are taken from isi liebler cbe's "Documenting Palestinian criminality", a review of marcus and zilberdik's book "deception: betraying the peace process" documenting palestinian authority behaviour for twelve months in 2010-11)

  • making a speech to the un general assembly abandoning the unsc resolution 242 track and insisting on the unga resolution 194 track, with the "right of return" of millions of palestinians into israel, is "profoundly provocative"
  • accusing only the israelis of being "profoundly provocative" is remarkably one-sided, even for the fco

    while tony blair remains centre-stage by being even-handed, the uk loses all influence by such one-sided criticism

    alistair burt should consider his position carefully, on the difference between being profoundly provocative and being profoundly provoked

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Fri, 12/28/2012 - 18:52

    Rate this:

    1 point

    here here

    Real Real Zionist

    Mon, 12/31/2012 - 10:52

    Rate this:

    -1 points

    "Any claims that BDS campaigning has impacted on Veolia are pure fiction. In considering tenders local councils are only allowed to look at value-for-money for council taxpayers."

    Do try to keep up Hoff. Veolia withdrew their tender.

    Well we seem to have quite a double act.

    Who is Tony Blair ?

    I guess since Alistair Burt is so unimportant we have to take it that he is speaking on behalf of the FO, that is, for the government.Coincidently this position of the govt is that of just about every govt in the world.

    The like of the two of you will hasbara Israel into oblivion.

    Real Real Zionist

    Mon, 12/31/2012 - 14:27

    Rate this:

    -1 points

    Ohhh you meant Tony Bliar. Why didn't you say that.

    I don't know of any anti racists called Harvey


    Mon, 12/31/2012 - 17:46

    Rate this:

    -1 points

    Happy goldfish, I hope you have included among your New Year resolutions that you will start to behave like an adult on the JC blog site.


    Thu, 01/03/2013 - 19:01

    Rate this:

    2 points

    Real Real Zionist: Who is Tony Blair ?

    tony blair won three uk general elections, and was prime minister from 1997 to 2007

    he was the youngest uk prime minister since lord liverpool in 1812

    since 2007 he has been the higly regarded and very influential "middle east envoy", representing the "quartet" of the un, the eu, the usa, and russia, negotiating with both sides of the israel/palestine conflict

    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Blair and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartet_on_the_Middle_East

    Real Real Zionist: I guess since Alistair Burt is so unimportant we have to take it that he is speaking on behalf of the FO, that is, for the government.

    speaking for the fco and speaking for the government are, unfortunately, two different things

    if alistair burt's one-sided view of what is "profoundly provocative" does represent the government, then the uk will lose all influence

    Real Real Zionist: Coincidently this position of the govt is that of just about every govt in the world.

    most governments do regard settlement expansion as both illegal (though not criminal), and unhelpful

    however, the democratic ones do not adopt your unhelpful and racist policy of dismissing the "profoundly provocative" acts of the palestinians

    for example, david cameron has said (15/10/2012, http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/ujia/) …

    And let me say this to the Palestinians too. Britain will never support anyone who sponsors a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism.

    Harvey: Here is the article London BDS have linked and deleted .

    Real Real Zionist: yyyyaaaaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnnnn

    Real Real Zionist: psstt Harv only you cares

    rrz, you and your friends aren't bothered by anti-israeli groups such as bds (or presstv or the fco) propagating racism, or being racistly one-sided

    but you are bothered by anti-racists such as harvey or me pointing it out

    Jonathan Hoffman

    Thu, 01/24/2013 - 11:49

    Rate this:

    0 points


    Any claims that BDS campaigning has impacted on Veolia are pure fiction. In considering tenders local councils are only allowed to look at value-for-money for council taxpayers.


    You must be logged in to post a comment.