UK envoy: Israel's foes cross red lines

Ambassador Ron Prosor says Israel's adversaries are constantly trying to demonize Israel through "blood libels."

Ron Prosor 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ron Prosor 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
LONDON – Recalling the accusation by an Egyptian official that Israel was behind the shark attack in Sharm e-Sheikh earlier this month and labeling the charge that Israeli medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims “blood libel 2010,” Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor said last week that Israel’s adversaries are constantly crossing the line in attempting to demonize Israel.
The ambassador was speaking to more than 400 people last week at the New West End Synagogue in central London. The event was organized by London-based organizations, media monitors Just Journalism and the Henry Jackson Society think tank.
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The panel included law professor Baroness Ruth Deech, a life peer in the House of Lords; chief editorial writer for The Times Daniel Finkelstein; author and Observer columnist Nick Cohen; Rafael Bardají, executive director of the Friends of Israel Initiative and former national security adviser under Spanish President José María Aznar. The event was chaired by Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard.
The ambassador said that Britain had become a major center in the delegitimization campaign against Israel with the media, university campuses and non-governmental organizations playing decisive roles.
He criticized those who begin their argument by saying they “believe that Israel has a right to exist.”
“Imagine if I said that I believe in Britain’s right to exist – people would wonder what I had been drinking,” he said.
Deech said it was time we tapped into the levers of justice to bring the anti-Israel campaigners to account.
The former principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, said Jewish students were facing a torrent of hate on campus and need help. While freedom of speech is paramount, she stressed, it must be within the law.
With the outcry following the recent invitation to visit the UK issued to American pastor Terry Jones, who in September threatened to burn copies of the Koran, Deech asked why there was no similar outcry following the invitation by the University College Union last year to Bongani Masuku from the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
Last year the South African Human Rights Commission found Masuku guilty of using inflammatory, threatening and insulting statements against the South African Jewish community after he made threats against Jewish businesses and supporters of Israel, declaring that Jews who support Israel must leave the country.
Why also, she asked, was there no similar outcry following the call to boycott Israeli academia? “No other country is held to account in the same way,” she said, adding that Israel is also discussed more than any other country in the House of Lords.