- In case you want to learn how to appeal to the Jews,
British diplomat Matthew Gould gives a free lesson.Haaretz reported yesterday
that Gould, the newly appointed British Ambassador to Israel, wasn't too
connected to his Jewish roots until he served in Tehran. Seemingly, now
he knows where he belongs.
- "Being posted in Iran made me go to shul more regularly",
says the new Ambassador. "I did it to reach out to the Jewish community
in Iran and to show that Western embassies were watching out for its welfare,"
Gould explains. "I was determined to go to shul to show both the Jewish
community and the Iranian authorities that I was Jewish and not embarrassed
- Gould says that his two-year stint through 2005 in Tehran
as deputy head of mission has given him "a real expertise in an issue
of profound security importance to Israel."
- The religious process that began in Tehran continued
in Britain. "I got more active [with Judaism] and over the last couple
of years I've spent a lot more time and a lot more thought on my Jewish
identity and what it means to be Jewish," says Gould.
- Haaretz reports that Gould and his wife go to shul every
week at the West London Synagogue. As a child, Gould recalls going to Middlesex
New Synagogue in Harrow with his parents, who still live in London as "proud
but inactive" members of the Jewish community.
- In Israel, Gould says he and his wife "will keep
a Jewish household," and "bring up their kids in the Jewish tradition,
when those children are born." Gould knows some parts of Israel, from
his visits there as a child, when he would occasionally go to the Liberal
Movement's Kadima summer camps. He also has family - second and third cousins
- in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. What can we say, he is not only a Jew but
a product of a typical Zionist upbringing.
- Considering Israel's crimes against humanity in general
and Palestinians in particular, one would expect Britain to send an impartial
ambassador to the Jewish state. Judeo centric by admission and Zionist
by education, Gould is certainly not the man for the job. As Gould himself
admits, "the fact that I'm Jewish means I will come with a particular
insight and sympathy and understanding, because the story of my family
is in certain respects the story of the people of the State of Israel."
- A month ago British TV Channel 4 broadcasted an exposè
of the UK Jewish Lobby. It revealed also that 50% of MPs in the shadow
cabinet areConservative Friends of Israel members. The Jews in Britain
or at least their rich are drifting away from the Labour party. They gamble
on the Tories. Consequently David Miliband, the foreign minister is doing
whatever he can to bring the Jewish fund raisers back home to his Labour
- At the end of October Miliband accused the Conservative
Party over their new alliance with the far right in Europe and with a Polish
Politician with an Antisemitic past. Some prominent British Jews were not
impressed. They knew exactly what Miliband was up to, they realised that
Miliband, himself a Jew, was attempting to destabilize the Jewish new alliance
with the Conservatives.
- Fatigue is not exactly one of Miliband's characteristics.
As we learn from Haaretz, he is now sending the Jewish State a kosher ambassador,
one who 'goes to the Shul every Sabbath', one who vows to keep a "Jewish
household". One who understands and is 'sensitive to Israeli security
- Ambassador Gould maintains that he is going as "the
British ambassador, to pursue British policies and advance British interests."
So here are two simple questions to the new British Ambassador to Israel.
How are you going to act when the British interests and the Jewish ones
oppose each other? How will you act when you notice a clear discrepancy
between Israeli actions and humanism?