Israel’s ambassador to the UK claimed this week that the debate on Israel had been “hijacked” by a minority which said “don’t bother us with the facts”.
Ron Prosor declared that Britain was “a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment” in an opinion piece which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday. Mr Prosor, who said that the University and College Union’s resolution on an academic boycott of Israel had been the “trigger” for the article, added: “For five consecutive years everyone told me how marginal this issue was, how it was not significant.
“But I see a real gap between the government, with professionals such as Gordon Brown and David Miliband, who know the issues very well and are at the forefront of understanding all the phenomena in the region, and what we can call ‘public opinion’.
“As far as I can see, government is much more positive about Israel than public opinion, which seems to be led by some media outlets.
“When the issue of boycott — which is an oxymoron in itself — is raised, there is no-one who is standing up and simply saying, this is wrong. Because I have such admiration for the central structures in Britain, I feel that there is a minority hijacking the debate on Israel.”
The ambassador said he wanted “to get a debate going. We have a lot to be proud of and we cannot have Israel stigmatised by those circles who say we can’t be bothered with the details.”
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy said they had received “dozens of calls and emails” about the article.
“People seemed to be happy that the ambassador had left ‘soft diplomacy’ behind and was sending out a clear message. We are creating a new agenda for debate.”