Britain's former foreign minister Jack Straw 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw told a gathering in the House of
Commons last week that AIPAC’s “unlimited” funding and intimidation of American
politicians is one of the main barriers to peace between Israelis and
Straw, who has been sharply critical of Israeli foreign
policy, also said Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel was another
impediment to peace, according to former MK Einat Wilf.
Straw was foreign
secretary under prime minister Tony Blair, and he announced at the end of last
week that he would not seek reelection to Parliament.
His comments came
during a round table discussion hosted by the Global Diplomatic Forum, a British
nongovernmental organization, on October 22. The event was not videotaped or
recorded and a spokeswoman for the forum was unable to provide a summary of the
discussion by press time.
Straw’s office did not respond to requests for
comment and an employee of the Israeli Embassy in London who also attended the
event declined to answer questions.
A spokesman for the British Embassy
in Tel Aviv said it would have no comment.
The news of Straw’s comments
spread on social media after Wilf posted a photo on Facebook and discussed
Straw’s statements. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post
, Wilf said Straw
argued that the intransigence of the Israeli government was an impediment for
“He talked then about the unlimited amount of money available to
Jewish organizations and to AIPAC to divert, I think was his words, American
policy,” Wilf said. “He talked about Germany’s ‘obsession’ [with] defending
Wilf said she “found the choice of words very
interesting. He could have talked about Germany’s obligation to defend
Israel. He could have talked about Germany’s sense of duty to defend Israel. But
he chose to talk about Germany’s obsession.”
When asked whether she found
the comments anti- Semitic, Wilf said that “there’s a whole discussion of how
European anti-Semitism has mutated into this anti-Israel view.
anti-Semitic classic kind of attacks about Jews controlling the world, and Jews
manipulating politics behind the scenes, about Jewish money [used] to divert
public will, and you just put it in the Israel context,” she said.
both in his cabinet position and as a member of Parliament, has criticized
Israeli policies, particularly regarding military action in the Palestinian
In 2001, he called the IDF action in the town of Beit Jala
“excessive and disproportionate,” when security forces took over civilian
residences and engaged in firefights with Palestinians who were indiscriminately
firing at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. In 2002, he called on the
government to withdraw from the West Bank. During the 2004 Operation Days of
Penitence, Straw said the IDF was “causing civilians death and injuries and
Most recently, he told BBC Radio4 in June that
Israel has an “extensive” nuclear weapons program but has “no territorial
ambitions apart from stealing the land of the Palestinians.”