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UK slammed for ‘turning a blind eye’ to the dangerous rise in Israeli racism

January 12, 2023 at 12:18 pm

British Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad (R) meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister (L) Eli Cohen [@elicoh1/Twitter]

The UK has come under fire for “turning a blind eye” to the racism of the far-right Israeli government following the first ministerial-level visit to the apartheid state since Benjamin Netanyahu formed an ultra-nationalist coalition. The Israeli government includes convicted terrorists and religious extremists like new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

It was business as usual however as British Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad met with Israeli officials yesterday to discuss trade and bilateral relations. Ahmad is reported by the BBC as taking trade partnership between the two countries “to new heights.”

There are said to be no plans for Ahmad to speak to Ben-Gvir or other officials from his ultranationalist party, though he did meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Economy Minister Nir Barkat, both of whom belong to Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

The meeting between the UK and Israel comes as pressure grows on Number 10 to boycott the current government of the apartheid state. Last month, a cross-party group of British MPs urged the UK government not to favour bilateral relations over “grave concerns” about the then-incoming Israeli government’s “discriminatory and illegal” policies.

While Downing Street does not appear to have endorsed the call for a boycott of Israel, it seems to be following Washington’s lead by refusing to meet with the likes of Ben-Gvir during talks.

Read Jewish supremacy is state policy, says Netanyahu

Criticising the ministerial visit, the UK-based Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) accused Number 10 of turning a blind eye to the racist and illegal practices of Israel. “This cosying up process [is] continuing whilst the Israeli government… is proposing to push forward with major [Israeli] settlement projects including legalisation of outposts,” Chris Doyle, director of CAABU, is reported saying.

“Rather than making new deals we should be seeing a British government… saying that pushing forward with these illegal actions would actually carry consequences,” Doyle added.

This morning the BBC’s Middle East correspondent reported that the UK delegation was kept at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for 30 minutes by the Israeli occupation’s border police. The occupation forces told the UK delegation they weren’t aware of the visit and that the minister, who is Muslim, could not access the holy site. During the discussion the British delegation had to show a photo of Ahmad’s meeting with the Israeli minister apparently to prove that he is a British minister.