UK ambassador says facts on the ground are driving British public away from Israel
Matthew Gould, UK ambassador, warning to Israel
British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould says anyone who cares about Israel, should be concerned about the erosion of international support.
August 02, 2012
The British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said on Thursday that anyone who cares about Israel, should be concerned about the erosion of international support for the country.
Speaking on Channel 10 news on Thursday evening, Gould said, “Israelis might wake up in 10 years time and find out that suddenly the international community has changed, and that patience for continuing the status quo has reduced.”
“Support for Israel is starting to erode and that’s not about these people on the fringe who are shouting loudly and calling for boycotts and all the rest of it. The interesting category are those members of parliament in the middle, and in that group I see a shift.”
“The problem is not hasbara. The center 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,” he said.
He also said that there is “growing concern” in the U.K. over the lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians.
Asked about the BBC Olympics website naming Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on its Olympics website, he said it was not his place to comment on the actions of the organization.
“It would be wrong for me to try and either explain their actions, for that you should speak to the BBC. But what I would say is this, that Israel is now seen as the Goliath and it’s the Palestinians who are seen as the David,” he said.
Last month, the Prime Minister’s Office was informed that Israel’s page on the BBC’s Olympic website included no reference to the country’s capital city. The raised eyebrows in Netanyahu’s bureau were soon supplanted by genuine anger when staffers noticed that on the page devoted to Palestine on the BBC site, East Jerusalem is listed as its capital city.
In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign press and public affairs adviser Mark Regev sent a letter of protest to the director of the BBC’s bureau in Israel, Paul Danahar. In the letter, a copy of which reached Haaretz, Regev writes that he is “dismayed by the BBC’s decision to discriminate against Israel on the BBC’s Olympic website.”
Following Regev’s letter, the BBC altered Israel’s page on the website such that under the heading “Seat of government,” the following sentence appears: “Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”