In a speech in Turkey today, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, criticised Israel’s ‘unacceptable’ blockade of Gaza and described the conditions there as resembling a ‘prison camp’.
The Jewish Chronicle has said that the remarks were ‘calculated to endear him to his Turkish hosts but to enrage Israel’.
It will be interesting to see how Israel’s well-placed and influential supporters make clear their anger to Cameron in the coming days. From past experience, the responses may well include threats to withdraw funding to the Conservative Party unless Cameron makes amends quickly.
When William Hague gently chided Israel in 2006 for its massive bombardment of Lebanon which resulted in the deaths of over 1000 civilians the response was swift. As the journalist Peter Oborne wrote in his very informative pamphlet, ‘The Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain’:
‘Hague is an important case study. He accepted donations
from Conservative Friends of Israel board members after
becoming Shadow Foreign Secretary, but within months
William Hague had fallen out with the CFI. Hague was on the
receiving end of an ear-bashing, was targeted in a critical letter
to The Spectator, and subject to threats to withdraw funding
from Lord Kalms, a major Tory donor and member of the CFI,
after he used the word “disproportionate” about Israel’s 2006
attack on Lebanon.’
Update 2: The Guardian posts a news story entitled ‘David Cameron faces Israeli storm over Gaza comments’