RUMOUR has it something bizarre – and uncharacteristically against its traditional, pro-Arab grain – is taking root in Britain’s Foreign Office, aliases The Camel Corps and The Ministry for Saudi Affairs.
   Has a mysterious morality virus stricken those who inhabit the grandiose Italianate monument to Victorian imperialism in King Charles Street, just off Whitehall, and the beating heart of Perfidious Albion’s web of international intrigue, as keen observers are asking.
   And have the mandarins – those very pillars of timeless, spinning deceit – lost their marbles after the British government has been perceived as twice throwing Israel diplomatic bones in less than a fortnight?
   Indeed, thrice, if you buy the fork-tongued gobbledygook peddled by Boris Johnson, the UK’s gaffe-prone jester of a Foreign Secretary, apropos notorious UN Resolution 2334, which all but eradicated the Jewish state’s right to exist.
   According to Bozo, as Boris is widely known abroad, his pin-striped hitmen wrote the script for diabolical 2334 motion with US connivance. And, having failed to arm-twist Egypt into signing it off, they leaned on those ever-willing also-rans, New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia, to do the dirty deed.
   Naturally, all was done in Israel’s best possible interests, even if an unappreciative Knesset doesn’t realise it.  
   But, as the oddball Johnson proudly fessed up in the House of Commons, “The UK was closely involved in the drafting of that resolution. It was an Egyptian-generated resolution and we only supported it because it contained new language pointing out the infamy of terrorism that Israeli suffers every day.”
   Cue applause resounding from Akko to Eilat. With friends like Boris, why worry about the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade or Hamas.
   As back-stabs go, though, 2334 was pretty typical FO betrayal, if in stark contrast to Boris’s more illustrious and forthright predecessors, like Lord Palmerston, who’d merely despatch a gunboat up the Limpopo to quell any local discontent.
   However, being a tad light in military muscle nowadays, Britain has become more reliant on its diplomatic attack dogs. That’s not to say Britannia hasn’t helped rule the skies above Libya and Iraq as “back-off” Obama’s Rottweiler in his half-baked notion of refashioning the Middle East to suit Iran’s grand designs.
   With a change of guard pending at the White House, at least Theresa May saw it was high time to put  clear, blue water between Her Majesty’s Government and a failed poseur of a president, who’d spent eight years relegating the US-UK “special relationship” to the back burner when he wasn’t rubbishing the Jewish state.
   So what better stick than Israel to beat the man, whose next challenge is applying for membership of Washington’s premier, Jewish golf club (oh to be a fly on the wall when Obama’s application hits the admission committee’s desk).
   Prime Minister May struck first by scolding US Secretary of State, John Kerry, for his arrant nonsense in blaming the “settlements” as the chief impediment to Middle East peace and claiming Israel couldn’t be a Jewish state and a democratic one.
   While going with the flow and criticising Israel’s West Bank expansion, Mrs. May’s spokesman said, “We are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.”
   Then, as a further side-swipe at Obama, Mrs. May ordered only junior factotums to attend last weekend’s French farce of an international peace conference – and only as “observers” – while ordering Johnson to stay home (and presumably cook the family’s Sunday lunch…lame duck a la orange maybe).
   Heaping further scorn on the Franco-US machinations, the FO questioned the rationale of the conflab, noting the UK’s concern about it “taking place against the wishes of the Israelis” and warning, “This conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.”
   The remarks dovetailed precisely with new President Trump’s disgust at the archly pro-Palestinian soiree, an aide branding it “a waste of time” and as Israeli foreign ministry official “a flat soufflé.”
   Of course, there are far more pressing matters for Mrs. May than playing honest broker in smoothing an elusive path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is telling that she seized this particular issue to burnish her credentials with new American administration.
   The Prime Minister gambles that however capricious President Trump may become, he’ll display more empathy for the Jewish state in a day than his hostile predecessor did in two, four-year terms.
   There is, though, more to Mrs. May apparent cosying up to Israel than being in lockstep with the 45th President.
   Most importantly, there is Brexit and the UK detaching itself from a European Union which has long coveted Britain’s chair on the UN Security Council and which holds Israel beyond contempt in its willingness to schmooze Arab sensibilities.
   So the UK ostensibly being viewed as a Jerusalem ally on the international stage – or, at least, taking a nuanced stance on the Middle East’s longest-rumbling conflict – will further enrage the bigoted EU and put extra diplomatically distance between London and Brussels.
   Nor will Mrs. May be compromising her nation’s historical camaraderie with the Saudis and those Sunni Gulf states that matter to Britain’s self-interest.
   Because, unlike doctrinaire Obama, she comprehends the fresh realities writ large in the sands of Arabia, where Israel is privately regarded as the key bulwark against expansionist Shia Iran.  
   Finally, the Jewish state’s irrepressible inventiveness offers fresh business opportunities to a UK unchained and Mrs. May is pragmatic enough to understand commerce and diplomacy go hand in glove.
   In this new world order, the only question is: will the British Prime Minister be able to persuade the FO’s Camel Corps to share her softer focus on Israel?


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