Matthew Gould: Britain's new Ambassador to Israel
Middle East Monitor (MEMO) is one of those nasty anti-Israel think-tanks which aims to win the ear of the political establishment.
It describes itself as “an independent media research institution founded in the United Kingdom to foster a fair and accurate coverage in the Western media of Middle Eastern issues and in particular the Palestine Question.”
Fair and accurate? Pull the other one.
They won’t even let you into one of their meetings if they disagree with your views.
Now MEMO asks: Is Britain’s new ambassador to Israel really going to be objective?
The question under discussion is: “Can a Jewish ambassador to Israel ever be truly objective when advising his home government on relations with the Jewish state? That is going to be the big question for Britain’s new ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who has just taken up residence in Tel Aviv.”
This is not the first time the someone’s Jewish background has been held against them recently in the media. When respected historians Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman were appointed to the panel of the Chilcot Enquiry to investigate the Iraq War Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, wrote in The Independent:
“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. All five members have outstanding reputations and records, but 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.”
Should being Jewish really disqualify them from all aspects of political life involving Middle Eastern matters?
And yet I wish I had a pound for the amount of times that someone’s Jewish background has been utilised to make a political point when it is to Israel’s detriment.
Richard Goldstone, who in his shabbily investigated report into Operation Cast Lead found Israel guilty of war crimes, has repeatedly had his objectivity placed beyond reproach solely because he is Jewish.
Then people who call for boycotts against Israel and march through London holding Hezbollah and Hamas flags think themselves beyond reproach with regards to anti-Semitism because they have a few communist Jews and the extreme religious Jewish sect of the Neturei Karta marching alongside them.
And now MEMO highlights the new British Ambassador to Israel’s Judaism as being a possible hindrance to his objectivity and raises the age-old issue of Jewish loyalty to the country in which they are citizens.
Despite Matthew Gould’s claim to be “a career diplomat”, his previous service as the principal private secretary to Labour’s David Miliband (also a member of North London’s increasingly influential Jewish community) when he was Foreign Secretary suggests that Conservative Mr. Cameron is indeed playing the Jewish card with this appointment. But for whose benefit: Britain’s or Israel’s?
This despite Cameron recently calling Gaza a “prison camp”!
Apparently Gould lost eight close relatives in the Holocaust and the MEMO article continues:
“Without wishing in any way to diminish the significance of the Holocaust on the psyche of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora – and the need to ensure that “never again” will a powerful militarised state be able to commit genocidal acts without being called to account for its actions – it is this “visceral” link which surely calls into doubt Matthew Gould’s ability to be a critical friend of Israel.”
But politicising the deaths of six million Jews in this way does “diminish the significance of the Holocaust”!
This is all despite Matthew Gould being a model British citizen, serving Britain to the best of his abilities and paying his share of taxes to support Britain’s needs.
Now the only apparent problem is that he’s Jewish.
And because he is Jewish MEMO perniciously describes Gould as “in all but name, a person with dual citizenship rights”.
In 1883, with Jews scattered across the globe and vicious pogroms against them the norm in Eastern Europe Moshe Lilienblum wrote in “The Future of Our People” the following prescient piece about smearing Jews:
“The opponents of nationalism see us as uncompromising nationalists, with a nationalist God and a nationalist Torah; the nationalists see us as cosmopolitans, whose homeland is wherever we happen to be well off. Religious Gentiles say that we are devoid of any faith, and the freethinkers among them say that we are Orthodox and believe in all kinds of nonsense; the liberals say that we are conservative and the conservatives call us liberal. Some bureaucrats and writers see us as the root of anarchy, insurrection and revolt; and the anarchists say we are capitalists, the bearers of the biblical civilization, which is, in their view, based on slavery and parasitism. Officialdom accuses us of circumventing the laws of the land – that is, of course, the laws directed specifically against us….Musicians like Richard Wagner charge us with destroying the beauty and purity of music. Even our merits are turned into shortcomings: “Few Jews are murderers,” they say, “because the Jews are cowards.” This, however, does not prevent them from accusing us of murdering Christian children.” (The Makings of Modern Zionism, Shlomo Avineri, 1981)
In employing someone’s religious background so gratuitously in order to try to smear that person ignorant organisations like MEMO display that, for some, Lilienblum’s thesis is still intact today, 127 years later.
(For more commentary see here and here).