Settlement policy driving UK mainstream away from Israel, says ambassador

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, said that Israel is losing the support of mainstream British society in an interview with Israel's Channel Ten last night.

Mr Gould argued that there has been a shift in opinion in the UK and negative views of Israel have moved from the margins to "the centre ground, the majority.

“The British public may not be expert but they are not stupid and they see a stream of announcement about new building in settlements, they read stories about what's going on in the West Bank, they read about restrictions in Gaza. The substance of what's going wrong is really what’s driving this," the ambassador said.

Mr Gould, who is Britain’s first Jewish envoy to Israel, refused to respond to the retort that UK media bias is driving the shift, claiming that “Israel is now seen as the Goliath and it’s the Palestinians who are seen as the David."

He added that if Israelis don’t take that on board, they "might wake up in ten years’ time and suddenly find that the level of understanding in the international community has suddenly changed.”

Mr Gould also said that there was “growing concern” in the UK over the lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians.

Last updated: 12:00pm, August 8 2012