British Inaction on Threats Risks the Rise of Anti-Semitism, Israelis Say
Israel is becoming a bit fed up with Britain’s inaction when it comes to combating threats against its officials and other pro-Israel entities, and the Jewish state is beginning to voice its discontent in the public sphere.
“You have to wonder at what point does inaction become anti-Semitism,” one Israeli official told the Daily Telegraph. “If Israelis of an Argentinian background threatened the British ambassor in Israel to the point that he could not make speeches, we would be getting demands from the Foreign Office to step in. Yet the government has done nothing to prevent the threats we face since it took office.”
Last week Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Strategic Affairs minister, told The Telegraph that “disguised anti-Semitism” was more prevalent in Britain than any other major Western country.
University events have been a major flashpoint and sources disclosed that a request from the Israeli embassy to ensure that an event at Edinburgh University featuring Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, was not disrupted, was rejected.
Earlier this year Alon Roth-Snir, the deputy ambassador, was evacuated from a hall at Essex University in Colchester, when a mob violently disrupted the meeting.
A Foreign Office spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that the UK does not support anti-Israel boycotts. “While we do not hesitate to express disagreement with Israel whenever we feel it necessary, we are firmly opposed to boycotts. We believe that imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process,” he said.
And since becoming Foreign Secretary, William Hague has repeatedly said that the Government is “firmly opposed” to campaigns to boycott or isolate Israel.
Toby Greene, the director of research at pro-Israel lobby group, BICOM, told the newspaper: “The extremists attempting to prevent Israelis speaking on university campuses are denying Israelis the universal right to free speech, and denying the rights of the majority who would like to hear what they have to say. These actions run against the principles of tolerance and fairness for which British universities are well renowned.”