Analysis: The coalition has a long way to travel

Is it good for the Jews? Unfortunately, the new coalition government is unlikely to bring much relief to those British Jews who are concerned about the true perils facing the Jewish people at this time.

The main concern must be the presence of the Lib Dems in the coalition. The party is even more venomously hostile to Israel than Labour, with Nick Clegg having articulated the boiler-plate prejudices towards Israel found on the political left. This may well drag the government into a more extreme position on the Middle East.

But the Tories themselves don't offer much prospect of a more balanced view. Although the Conservative Party does not display the malevolent obsession with Israel found on the left - and indeed, many of its backbenchers are well disposed towards it - its front-bench team has shown until now a measure of indifference and ignorance.

This led the new Foreign Secretary William Hague to denounce Israel most unfairly for "'disproportionate" behaviour in defending itself militarily against rocket and bomb attacks - language more circumspectly reined in during Operation Cast Lead.

And David Cameron, who is not known for his interest in foreign affairs, has made a point of referring to "occupied east Jerusalem," which suggests that he too may subscribe to the prevailing lazy and prejudiced consensus.

This is that Israel's behaviour is the key to achieving peace in the Middle East, and in turn that solving the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is the key to regional and world stability. Both assumptions are wrong, and lend themselves to a weakening of this country's own defence against the threats that it faces as well as threatening to further undermine Israel in its moment of such great danger under the threat from Iran.

With ignorance and prejudice towards Israel driving attitudes towards the Middle East amongst the entire British political class, the prospects of the new government supporting justice in the region, and understanding that Israel has to be defended against its attackers as the true victim of aggression, ethnic cleansing and religious fanaticism, unfortunately seems all too remote.

    Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010