Ex- ambassador criticises Jews on Iraq inquiry

By Jessica Elgot, November 23, 2009
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Sir Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert

The former British ambassador to Libya, Sir Oliver Miles, has criticised the appointment of two leading Jews to the Iraq inquiry.

Sir Oliver drew attention to the appointment of Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, and the war historian and ‘Blair doctrine’ architect Sir Lawrence Freedman, who advocated humanitarian intervention in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The two men will be made privy counsellors in order to sit on the inquiry committee.

Sir Oliver wrote in the Independent newspaper that he was concerned that two out of five of the Iraq War inquiry committee members were Jewish, and questioned the balance of the committee.

He wrote: “Both Gilbert and Freedman are Jewish, and Gilbert at least has a record of active support for Zionism.

“Such facts are not usually mentioned in the mainstream British and American media, but the Jewish Chronicle and the Israeli media have no such inhibitions, and the Arabic media both in London and in the region are usually not far behind.”

He added: “It is a pity that, if and when the inquiry is accused of a whitewash, such handy ammunition will be available. Membership should not only be balanced; it should be seen to be balanced.”

Last updated: 10:55am, November 23 2009