Along with unfavourable references to the US and Japan, the reference to Israel was written in the margin by someone commenting on the opening paragraph of the Williams draft. It was written against the claim that "no other country [apart from Iraq] has flouted the United Nations' authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction"As a bit of background for those new to this, the dodgy dossier was a story concocted to justify the war on Iraq that started in 2003 and continues to this day. The idea of the dossier was to "prove" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that it was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions for having them.
The ticklish little problem there was that we all knew that Israel had them and it would have been literally a miracle for Iraq to acquire them what with surveillance, no fly zones, daily bombardment and genocide by sanctions. So here's what the man from the ministry told the Information Tribunal about the note on Israel and what happened to it when a Freedom of Information Act application to see it was made:
Neil Wigan, head of the FCO's Arab, Israel and North Africa Group, said he did not know who had referred to Israel in the margin. He went on: "I interpret this note to indicate that the person who wrote it believes that Israel has flouted the United Nations' authority in a manner similar to that of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein."Actually Israel has flouted the UN's authority whereas we now know as we did then that Iraq hadn't.
But what's the issue here? Why was the stuff about Israel withheld?
Its disclosure would seriously damage the UK's relations with Israel, Wigan said. The comparison with Saddam and the "implied accusation of a breach of the UN's authority by Israel are potentially very serious". It was "inevitable" that relations between the UK and Israel would suffer if the marginal note were allowed to enter the public domain, he added.Oh no, Israel might get uptight and normally it's such a chilled sort of a regime. We wouldn't want the UK to be responsible for making Israel uptight, would we?
Wigan observed: "Unfortunately, there is perception already in Israel that parts of the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] are prejudiced against the country". The note on the Williams draft dossier "would therefore confirm this pre-existing suspicion and would increase the damage".
But what does it matter if Israel is uptight? It's always uptight anyway.
Writing in October last year, he noted that "criticism of Israel received a huge amount of media coverage". The margin comment mentioning Israel would thus be given a "high profile". Harming relations with Israel would undermine the FCO's ability to prevent and resolve conflict "through a strong international system". In addition, there was "an important national interest in relation to counter-terrorism", Wigan said.So we don't want Israel thinking that we are critical of it having nuclear weapons, we don't criticise Israel killing children with or without their parents and we don't even criticise Israel when it kills Brits whether they're working for the International Solidarity Movement, Channel 4 or the UN. And the reason for that is so that we can be influential when it comes to middle east peace or work against terrorism.
This is absurd. The more sycophantic the UK and other states are towards Israel the more outrageously Israel behaves. If the UK won't act against Israel when it kills Brits what can we expect when Israel kills Palestinians? Not only that, this support for Israel must surely be a major cause of the kind of terrorism, this support for Israel is claimed to be preventing.
Whatever happened to "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".