The Gould Werritty Investigation Continues 175


An MP has been refused by the Commons Table Office when they tried to table a question asking how many meetings Gould had held with Werritty and/or Fox. The Table Office say the question has already been answered – even though we know for certain that the answer given was untrue.

This was the untrue – or at the very least radically unfull – answer cited by the Table Office:

Adam Werritty
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings HM ambassador to Israel has had with the Secretary of State for Defence (a) in Israel, (b) in the UK and (c)
31 Oct 2011 : Column 374W
elsewhere since May 2010; whether Mr Adam Werritty was present on any such occasion; and which (i) other officials and (ii) other people were present on each occasion. [76970]
Alistair Burt: All meetings which our ambassador to Israel has had with the former Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) since May 2010 are set out in the Cabinet Secretary’s report of 18 October 2011. Our ambassador to Israel was also invited by the former Defence Secretary to a private social engagement in summer 2010 at which Adam Werritty was present.

It is remarkable rule of parliament that apparently once a minister lies about something, parliamentarians are never allowed to ask about it again.

Meantime I have submitted a Freedom of Information request about a Freedom of Information request! I have asked for any notes, minutes, emails or correspondence relating to the handling of my FOI request for the Gould-Werritty correspondence. You may recall that my request was declined on grounds of cost, and dealt with in the remarkable time of just 76 minutes, the answer ebing received at 11.31 pm!

Finally the editor of the Jewish Chronicle has declined to publish the following article, which I submitted to him as a comment piece covering the JC’s promotion of the charges of anti-semitism against Paul Flynn for pursuing the Gould/Werritty issue. This is a shame, because the JC used to give space to liberal views, and because I believe a serious percentage of their readership would have been interested in the other side of the story.

There is a genuine argument that it was not wise to appoint Matthew Gould as Ambassador to Israel, and the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled at MP Paul Flynn MP by Dennis McShane, and reported by Martin Bright in the JC, do not address that argument.

Of course being Jewish does not in any way disqualify Matthew Gould from being a British ambassador. We are fortunate in the UK to have many brilliant Jewish diplomats. Jon Benjamin in Santiago is an example of an absolutely first rate ambassador with whom I was once privileged to work.

But Israel/Palestine remains, beyond dispute, a scene of unresolved conflict. The Israeli government, for example, recognises that conflict by invoking the San Remo Agreement to justify its naval embargo of Gaza. The San Remo agreement only applies in times of armed conflict. The dispute is also witnessed not just by events on the ground, but in diplomatic terms by the whole paraphernalia of Middle East peace negotiation, including the post of Quartet envoy occupied by Tony Blair.

So the situation surrounding Israel is not normal and involves conflict. That is, of course, by no means unique. Nearby Cyprus is subject to a dispute that has many parallels. I was Head of the FCO Cyprus section for three years, and tried hard but failed to make progress in resolving the “Cyprus question”. Winning trust was extremely difficult; it would have been well nigh impossible had I been ethnically Greek or Turkish. For the Head of the FCO Cyprus section, or for our Ambassador in Nicosia, to be ethnically Greek, Turkish or either shade of Cypriot just would not be practically useful. I hope nobody will accuse me of being anti-Greek or anti-Turk for saying so.

Similarly, it is just not helpful to have an Ambassador in Tel-Aviv who is Jewish or Palestinian. It just isn’t practically wise. This is not a matter of high policy. There may be Jews or Palestinians of such exceptional personal qualities they could rise above any suspicion of partisanship and be effective. But Matthew Gould has proven himself not to be that talented.

Matthew’s frequent declarations to the Israeli media of his personal commitment to zionism are neither helpful nor necessary for a diplomat. Take for example this from the Jerusalem Post of 29 May:

“British Ambassador Matthew Gould declared his commitment to Israel and the principles of Zionism on Thursday”
That really is a very peculiar thing for a diplomat, who is supposed to have just the one national commitment, to say. I was dismissed as an Ambassador – by FCO ministers including Dennis McShane – for too strong a personal commitment to human rights. A personal commitment to zionism is by comparison a good thing, apparently.

We also cannot pretend that in 2011 to declare oneself a “zionist” in political terms merely has its 19th century meaning of somebody who believes in the existence of a state of Israel. The readership of the JC knows that the term “zionist” has accrued baggage of support for settlements and a greater Israel, for the annexation of the whole of Jerusalem, and of links with the non-Jewish foreign policy neo-Cons both sides of the Atlantic. who also declare themselves ardent zionists at every opportunity.

It is also worth noting that, of the entertained guests who have passed into Gould’s Tel Aviv residence, a disgruntled British Embassy source tells me that well less than 5% of invites have been to Israeli Arabs who constitute 20% of the population.

Finally, we have to consider the extraordinary relationship of Gould with Adam Fox and Liam Werritty. It has been shown that the trio met at least seven times, including several meetings before the election, according to Gus O’Donnell’s replies to Paul Flynn at the Public Administration Committee. The FCO refuses point-blank to say how many times Gould met Werritty without Fox, and refused within the hour (at nearly midnight!) my emailed Freedom of Information request for the Gould/Werritty correspondence.

No other official was ever present at any of the Fox-Gould-Werritty meetings – one of many strange facts about them. Gus O’Donnell’s report mentions only two of what we now know was a much larger series of meetings. We really need to know what Gould, the “committed zionist”, was doing with the two extreme Atlanticist neo-cons – and why the government is so anxious to hide it..

That is a genuine question, and to scream “anti-semite” at anyone who asks it devalues the term.


175 thoughts on “The Gould Werritty Investigation Continues

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  • angrysoba

    Komodo: Just for interest, Angry, I note you support the idea of a two-state solution. Where would you like to see the Palestinians located?

    .
    Broadly speaking, where most self-identifying Palestinians currently live (except for those who live abroad), that is to say, the West Bank, Gaza and probably other areas. But I can only say “broadly” because there is no consensus on where those lands are. Generally speaking I don’t think of myself as someone who dictates where people live but I assume your question refers to where a Palestinian state should be.
    .
    And yourself?

  • Komodo

    Thanks, Angry. Must say I’ve rather despaired of the idea of a two-state solution as the West Bank has become increasingly (and strategically) fragmented. The single-state idea would require impossible restraint from both sides, and a genuine commitment to fully franchising the Palestinians. So, I don’t know. Relieved to see you don’t think the poor bastards would have to go to Jordan, though.

  • angrysoba

    No, I don’t think the Palestinians should have to go to Jordan. Nor do I think the Jews should “get the Hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany or where-ever.
    .
    It’s a clusterfuck and I defy anyone to give a simple answer to the problem. In the meantime, I also oppose the Likud Platform, the Hamas Charter and the Proclamation of the Republic of Rainbows and Unicorns (i.e the binational state in which everyone lives happily together).

  • Passerby

    I defy anyone to give a simple answer to the problem.
    End zionism, This supremacist ideology is at the root of all evil.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Zionism is certainly a major factor in relation to the Middle East. And people like Miko Peled and others argue that Zionism is indeed the nub of the Palestine/Israel problem and the major barrier to a just, peaceful solution. But it’s not “the root of all evil”. That takes it into the realms of the theological nd numinous, sort of horror film, ‘Omen’-style. Unless, of course, you project backwards across time and outwards across space and lump all the bad things empires and others do/have done/will do in one bucket and stick a label on the side saying, ‘Zionism’. Which is exactly what the Islamist Supremacists tend to do. And then the Zionist Supremacists say the same thing about the Islamist Supremacists/ about Islam. And so, we have Monthy Python-with-real-blood. It is an evasion of analytical process. Zionism is a political/religious ideology with its origins and its effects and it ought to be suject to rational critique just like any other political ideology. To inflate it to the ludicruous serves no useful purpose. One might as well say, ‘tribalism’ is the root of all evil, or ‘greed’ – and one might be closer to the truth.

  • Jon

    @all – please try to avoid lengthy discussion regarding past disagreements. Rule #1 – if you want to say something inflammatory, have a cup of tea first. Suhayl will be pleased to put the kettle on – he makes a fine brew!
    .
    @ken – as you know you’re welcome here, but as a mod I am finding your approach a touch aggressive for a new poster. Mary thinks she got a roasting, but I didn’t sense that was a dig at you (10 Dec, 2011 – 2:56 pm). You are of course free to disagree politely, but sometimes it is best not to “sweat the small stuff” and stick to the primary topic.

  • Passerby

    Suhayl Saadi,
    ,
    How can anyone in the name of sanity Justify any kind of supremacist ideology? The almost inane propositions forwarded regardless of the grandiloquence deployed are an attempt in tenuous logic.
    ,
    The very basis of any supremacist doctrine is rooted in conflict and violence, hence to start putting a positive spin on such beastly bunkum is akin to attempts in searching for the inner goodness of Caligula.
    ,
    Finally, the use of Islamist Supremacists in the context of the Palestinians is a low punch trick and smacks of rationalisation of the unjustifiable violence of the Jewish Supremacists upon that beleaguered nation.
    ,
    The attempts in obfuscation and conflation, are only to afford time for the zombie ideology of Jewish Supremacy, for reasons of further transference/plunder of the lands, and natural resources of the Palestinians.
    ,
    The simple fact is ending the zionist ideology, would also end the conflict pretty darn quickly.

  • Ken

    @Jon..[– as you know you’re welcome here, but as a mod I am finding your approach a touch aggressive for a new poster.]



    I find your touch as a Mod one sided. This is the 2nd or 3rd time you have now singled me out whilst ignoring others. You as a mod are supposed to be impartial,you obviously are not.You dropped down on Mary’s side first off and now you have yet again singled me out when all I have been doing is defending myself from a torrent of insults. I got no respect for you as a mod,you are in their camp.

  • crab

    “It’s a clusterfuck and I defy anyone to give a simple answer to the problem.”

    I dont think the answers are uniquely complex or unknown. There are many ways to fail and many to succeed. The science is Conflict Resolution. Announce peace, accept some of your guilt and state a new intent. Stop attacking, denigrating and repressing your historical foe, make as many reparations to those you harmed as you can, and endure whatever conflict remains.

  • Ken

    Saudi woman executed for practising sorcery.

    Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practising magic and sorcery.

    The Saudi interior ministry said in a statement that the execution had taken place on Monday, but gave no details of the woman’s crime.

    The London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, the chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 a session.


    Executing an old woman for what is basically fraud, you know that if this happened in Iran it would be front page news but it happened in Saudi and is thus relegated to the minor news. Disgraceful.

  • Jon

    @all – I’ve edited out some of the troll discussions as off-topic. Carry on with Gould/Werrity/Neocons/Israel/etc 🙂
    .
    @Suhayl – totally agree. `Zionism is the root of all evil` is an oversimplification – it is an offshoot of neo-conservatism and one of many different flavours of imperialism. Religion is involved, but there is a danger that even agnostics will paint this as a “religious war”. It is not, and should not be recognised as such – it is about money and power, same as it ever was.

  • Jon

    @crab, yes – conflict resolution with a strong and genuinely neutral third party. But the US would never accept that path – they see themselves in that role and, possibly, struggle to see their own bias towards the Israeli side. I think the conflict would come to an end quite quickly if there was an arbitrator who could wield some power.
    .
    I suspect though that it would need to reduce US aid to Israel, and of course only the US has the power to do that. As @angry suggested on another thread, even Obama couldn’t do that unilaterally, and I don’t suspect he would even consider it.

  • crab

    wtf – The Saudi’s have just executed a ‘witch’ ?!
    And they probably drowned a confession out of her too!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Jon, Crab, wrt Palestine-Israel – absolutely.
    .
    Passerby, not everybody – grandiloquent or delinquent – who attempts to expound on nuances of points you might make is necessarily a feral agent of Zionism. I am simply a wayfaring stranger. But the kettle is on! Do have a cuppa cha’…
    .
    Saudi Arabia is emblematic of the maxim that truth is always stranger than fiction. Since around 1979, when it took a sharp turn towards the Fields of Nonsense, it has seemed like a country governed by the Id.

  • Ken

    Just seen a nice report on Channel 4 news about protests in Saudi,makes a change. The Shia are on the rise there,some protesters have been killed already. The Saudis are bringing in new terrorism laws which will basically give them the right to lock people up without trial/evidence etc and a statement from the Saudi embassy in London claims that they respect human rights,well tell it to that old woman you have just executed for fraud.Anyway nice to see the MSM reporting on Saudi.

  • Fedup

    Jon, Suhayl Saadi,

    Neocons are a by-product of zionism (the corrosive fuckwitry that keeps on spawning more evil), and although zionism is a product of Imperialists, and colonialists. However this abhorrent and evil doctrine that is heavily influenced by the south African apartheid, due to the close friendship between the founders of both these supremacist ideologies (Apartheid and zionism), which conveniently use religion as a vehicle to sew hatred and discord, validating the cock and bull doctrines of separation and segregation of races. This facet was also true of the “National Socialist” notions that Hitler later came to espouse.
    ,
    Therefore to find any nuanced approach to the same bankrupt ideologies are at best aiding and abetting the racist scum bags, and at worst defending the lunatic evildoers bent on destruction of their perceived underclass, as reflected in all three supremacist notions; Kaffir for apartheid, Jude for National Socialists, and Palestinian for zionists.
    ,
    The fact that as yet we are debating as to whether zionism ought to be thrown onto the rubbish heap, is attesting to the degrees of distortion that our historical narratives have gone through to make racial segregation acceptable, although with the best of intentions and in the spirit of positive racial discrimination. Now how fuckedup is that?
    ,
    Notwithstanding the above, the trends are telling that no supremacist contention can withstand any close scrutiny, therefore the need of supremacists for a new and invented nomenclature, that in effect promotes this evil as an imperative due to sensitivities that are rooted in some other event. Kaffirs were black because they were the descendants of Cain, hence their black appearance. Arab nations as lying, thieving, barbarous, blood thirsty, suicide bombers, who push their children into the line of zionist soldiers fire, and under the tracks of their tanks. Forming the points of reference for zionists description of the Arabs, and by extension the “sub human” Palestinians.
    ,
    The current “conflict” is but a one sided conflict of Jewish supremacists, with the indigenous Palestinians, and the only solution to be found is ending the madness of supremacy, alas that is a far fetched probability given the current crazy dynamics, with regards to acceptability of the injustices, and inequity so prevalent in the mideast, due to the pressures on making acceptable the crazy notions of zionism, as a political philosophy.

  • angrysoba

    Jon: I suspect though that it would need to reduce US aid to Israel, and of course only the US has the power to do that. As @angry suggested on another thread, even Obama couldn’t do that unilaterally, and I don’t suspect he would even consider it.
    .
    I think I was previously talking of other policies that Obama said he would implement which he hasn’t done so far and I was pointing out that he doesn’t get to rule by decree as he has to go through a hostile Congress and sometimes even convince his own hostile party, which is just bizarre.
    .
    As for aid to Israel, the reason why he won’t consider it, at the moment is because the aid to Israel and to Egypt is part of the conditions of the cold peace between those two countries. The aid was, IIRC, given on the basis that Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and also other conditions of the Camp David Accords. Cutting aid would effectively be signalling that the Camp David Accords are finished, so you can see why that’s a bit of a non-starter.

  • ingo

    If Iran is attacked, Shia’s in Saudi and Bahrain, dare I say everywhere, will go on the rampage, even Iraq might re ignite in another tit for tat period of religious animosities, a very unholy brew which could easily set the whole middle east alight.

  • Jon

    @angry, thanks – I didn’t know that about Camp David. I do wonder though whether reducing financial support for the Israeli state would be worth the risk – the Israelis appear to be holding the US by the balls, and an adjustment of that attitude could be forced by the US. Cutting military aid to Israel, plus reducing levels of automatic diplomatic support, might reduce Israel’s belligerence.
    .
    Would “signalling the end of the Camp David Accords” make Israel automatically more hostile, do you think? My view is that they only breach international law so brazenly because they believe they can get away with it. But, I suppose that would require the US to support the concept of the ICC!

  • Richard

    All right thinking citizens will believe that a British Jew can serve as ambassador to Israel as anywhere else. By the same token the Jewish community should allow for legitimate questions in this particular case and with the same assumptions of integrity. Do as you would be done by.

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