FCO Speeds Up Planning to Move UK Embassy to Jerusalem 278


Following US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s talks with Boris Johnson and his ministers in London last week, FCO officials have been asked to speed up contingency planning for the UK to move its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with an eye to an “early announcement” post Brexit.

The UK is currently bound by an EU common foreign policy position not to follow the United States in moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. As things stand, that prohibition will fall on 1 November. FCO officials had previously been asked to produce a contingency plan, but this involved the construction of a £14 million new Embassy and a four year timescale. They have now been asked to go back and look at a quick fix involving moving the Ambassador and immediate staff to Jerusalem and renaming the Consulate already there as the Embassy. This could be speedily announced, and then implemented in about a year.

Johnson heads the most radically pro-Israel cabinet in UK history and the symbolic gesture of rejection of Palestinian rights is naturally appealing to his major ministers Patel, Javid and Raab. They also see three other political benefits. Firstly, they anticipate that Labour opposition to the move can be used to yet again raise accusations of “anti-semitism” against Jeremy Corbyn. Secondly, it provides good “red meat” to Brexiteer support in marking a clear and, they believe, popular break from EU foreign policy, at no economic cost. Thirdly, it seals the special link between the Trump and Johnson administrations and sets the UK apart from other NATO allies.

Bolton also discussed the possibility of UK support for Israeli annexation of areas of the West Bank to “solve” the illegality of Israeli settlements on occupied territory. My FCO sources believe this is going to be much more difficult politically for the Cabinet to agree than simply moving the Embassy, due to lack of support on their own backbenches.

This is an insight into the future of British foreign policy if the Johnson government, and the UK, both survive. In the massive defeat of the UK at the UN General Assembly two months ago over the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands, the UK was in a voting block with only the USA, Israel, Australia, Hungary and the Maldives, against the rest of the world. The Maldives had a particular maritime interest there, but the leadership of the others – Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Scott Morrison, Benjamin Netanyahu and now Boris Johnson – constitute a distinct and extreme right wing bloc. These are very worrying times indeed.

This article was updated to add the third point above after my source alerted me that I had missed it.


278 thoughts on “FCO Speeds Up Planning to Move UK Embassy to Jerusalem

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  • Casual Observer

    Obviously with the parliamentary hols going on, politics is relatively becalmed. But there does seem to be a reasonable expectation that the house of straw currently being built by Boris the Clown, will be blown down when Parliament reassembles ?

    • N_

      Obviously with the parliamentary hols going on, politics is relatively becalmed.”

      Are you being ironic, @CasualObserver? It’s raging!!

      Those who really want to throw the cat among the pigeons might like to suggest that Parliament should legislate to abolish the royal prerogative to prorogue Parliament. Give it all three readings in both Houses within a few hours, as was done in 1936 for the abdication by fascist leader Oswald Mosley’s friend “king Edward VIII”. Don’t let the bureaucratic prats say it can’t be done because the queen’s Pursuivant Equerry always takes two months to check whether he’s got a ladder in his tights. It can be done.

      And on the theme of “taking back control”, and as I have said before, that nutcase Dominic Cummings has really got it coming to him. Let’s recap:

      *************************
      Notes on Dominic Cummings

      He is a 47-year-old man who

      * a) keeps going on about what his tutors told him at university (how sad is that??),
      * b) favours eugenics,
      * c) says almost everybody else is stupid
      * d) wants to base a national revival on the project of building a British base on the moon.

      *************************

      Those who are behind the troubles WANT a general election or plebiscite. Out of the two, I think they would prefer a general election, which can be presented as among other things a third vote on Brexit.

      Hoard food. Do it now.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Cummings’ blog is not the work of a mind at peace with itself. Ranging all over the place and touching on technical subjects on which he has neither training or experience.
        I have read that Cummings “taught himself mathematics to degree level”. Did ye, aye?
        I had a colleague with a humanities degree that “taught himself mathematics to degree level”. Under questioning he became evasive and vague very quickly. Obviously he knew hehaw about maths. Never mind, he has his own social worker now.

        • Deb O'Nair

          I taught myself Applied Cognitive Psychology to degree level and I can say in all confidence that Dominic Cummings is suffering from Acute Twat Complex (or ATC as we call it) complicated by severe susceptibility towards Total Arrogant Bastard Syndrome (TABS). Further, I suspect he also has a case of Chronic Unspecified Nonsense Talking.

        • N_

          To teach yourself three years’ worth of degree level maths to a proper standard, not just sufficiently to scrape a third at a former polytechnic, you would need an extraordinarily disciplined mind. It’s clear from Cummings’s published material that he hasn’t got one. His “all over the place” approach combined with his “I’m so brilliant” conviction reminds me of Anders Breivik. The opposition ought to start mentioning that moonbase.

      • Dungroanin

        I posted this ages ago – but it bears repeating now he is in No 10.
        Dominic Cummings and his self confessed referendum manipulation using CA/AIQ/SCL.
        https://dominiccummings.com/tag/victoria-woodcock/
        (The chap comes across as a Dr Strangelove ubermensch type… but that is another story)
        Where he claims
        “Almost all of Vote Leave’s digital communication and data science was invisible even if you read every single news story or column ever produced in the campaign”
        And
        ” In the official 10 week campaign we served about one billion targeted digital adverts, mostly via Facebook and strongly weighted to the period around postal voting and the last 10 days of the campaign. We ran many different versions of ads, tested them, dropped the less effective and reinforced the most effective in a constant iterative process. We combined this feedback with polls (conventional and unconventional) and focus groups to get an overall sense of what was getting through.”

        That is vote manipulation.

        Of course I got barred from posting such comments and links on the Guardian for no valid reason.

  • Allan Howard

    In response to Allan Howard.

    The programme [ Panorama: Is Labour Anti-Semitic? ] is available on Iplayer for another ten months (at the time of writing) if you didn’t catch it at the time, or you want to watch it again: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0006p8c/panorama-is-labour-antisemitic

    Note the format they used for the ‘Jewish Labour Party members’, and how in all but one instance, the segments consist of them staring into the camera looking perturbed (at the memory of what they are saying supposedly) with a voice-over, then switches to them speaking to the camera, and no John Ware present (as he was with all the ex-staffers and ‘experts’) who might have had to ask some awkward questions, like when the young woman who kicked off the programme – who turned out to be Ella Rose of Aljazeera’s undercover investigation The Lobby fame – said that she was handing out leaflets at a LP conference and someone came up to her and screamed abuse in her face…… most viewers would have expected John Ware (or any interviewer/journalist) to interject at that point and ask her what they said. Or to have asked the young woman who appeared on it several minutes later (who was the only one who mentioned her name – ie Izzy Lenga) why she kept going to LP meetings if she kept being abused every time. The whole programme from start to finish was carefully choreographed, and an exercise in black propaganda if ever there was one!

    • Tony

      Did you report this at the time?

      Did anybody witness this?

      No such questions were asked.

      And, as happened so frequently, it cut to the ‘interviewer’ who was seen nodding his head in agreement.

      No Jewish supporters of Corbyn were allowed to appear.

      The programme was an absolute disgrace.

    • Jo1

      No thanks Allan. I dodged it the first time and wouldn’t want to watch it now. It was obvious how it would go.

      • George

        Quite right Jo1. Just as a it would be pointless to peruse books with titles like “Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power” and “The Left’s Jewish Problem – Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism” (No, I didn’t make them up.)

        And I note that the latest New Statesman has a piece called “Why liberals now believe in conspiracies” by trendy rebel nihilist “philosopher” John Gray: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/08/why-liberals-now-believe-conspiracies

        It has this:

        “Though the Corbyn project may now be broken, the fact that it could conquer Labour’s political heights is a mark of how quickly liberal societies can descend into a politics of hate and delusion.”

        And there it is! The entire hub of this little piece is therein contained. It’s the “anti-Semitic Labour Party” meme. And note this language carefully: the “Corbyn project”, despite (possibly) being “broken”, has conquered “Labour’s political heights” and thereby shows “how quickly liberal societies can descend into a politics of hate and delusion”. This “Corbyn project” is therefore seen as that very “politics of hate and delusion”. Corbyn as anti-Semite! Corbyn as Hitler!

        • Tony

          The New Statesman has not been worth reading for a long time.

          ‘Corbyn-Haters’ Weekly’ is what it ought to be called.

    • Jo Dominich

      Ros Thorpe, I agree the Third Reich possibly – but in this country, no never. It is not only frightening, it is shocking that the Lib Dems and Tories, rather than fight a General Election, will not back the quite proper constitutional proposal put forward by Corbyn as a way to break the impasse. I guess Corbyn must be a real threat to the establishment that the Tory’s are unable to get behind a perfectly reasonable option to stop a No Deal Brexit and a General Election called.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I always distinguish in every way between arguments about the EU and arguments about Israel. It is absolutely unacceptable to take any orders from the USA about Israel, especially from a genocidal psychopath like John Bolton.

    It is about time that entry of any American into the UK requires a personal statement publicly disowning US foreign policy where it clearly breaches international law, the Geneva Convention on Human Rights and treaties covering chemical and biological weapons.

    That way, the only Americans who can trade with the UK are law-abiding ones. Hopefully there are over 200 million of thise….

    It would be an incredible statement to the world of absolute lawlessness were any US corporations to relocate as a result of such a policy, eh?

    The UK should keep its Embassy exactly where it is and if the US uses pressure, it pays personally to build a lavish new UK embassy in Jerusalem to UK specifications, along with a second new Uk Embassy in Gaza.

    If thst is considered to be off the Richter scale, then all future honours for FCO mandarins should be cited for ‘services to submissive obedience’.

    • N_

      There are about 1000 million Americans. Only about a third of them live in the US. The most commonly spoken mother tongue in America is Spanish.

    • Loony

      Ah yes the requirement for US citizens to supplement their passports with a personal statement of their own moral purity prior to being allowed entry into the UK.

      Why would any morally pure US citizen wish to enter the UK for any reason other than hunting down and apprehending the criminal elite and incarcerating the likely millions of supine and brainwashed people masquerading as citizens.

      How morally pure was it for Blair to bomb Serbia in order to provide cover for the KLA to kill ethnic Serbs in order to harvest their organs for sale into the burgeoning organ transplant market?

      Whinging about the location of an Embassy has only one purpose – that purpose being to publicly preen your own morality whilst resolutely ignoring the millions of corpses that you have allowed to be created simply because you are too frightened to stare into the abyss of your own complicity.

        • Loony

          At least you are honest and make no claim at all to actually care at all about the people who were murdered by the genocidal British.

          Even your ad hominem attack on me can be most sensibly be interpreted as being in service to your own ego as opposed to seeking to deflect attention from the crimes notionally committed in your name.

      • fedup

        Pointless this article is old hat, and as ever in this post truth Zeitgeist of course another exemplar of “conspiracy theory”. Bolton in fact is a god fearing church going character who invented the KFC and was a colonel in the confederate army, helps little old ladies crossing the street and gives candies to all the kids in his block.

        Bolton is not a draft dodging, chicken hawk who is in the employ of the zionist elements, and a gung-ho neoconservative of PNAC. Used to leaching off an earning at the expense of the US taxpayers all the while returning the favour for his retainer, by sending the same taxpayers kids to be slaughtered in various needless wars.

        • Andrew (Andy) Crow

          Well said, fedup.

          Poor John Bolton. Such a lovely Christian gentleman ….Jesus himself would have been a better person for knowing St John Bolton.

  • Clive p

    Our old friend Hamish de Bretton-Gordon has just popped up on WATO. This time under the guise of ‘Doctors under Fire’ which seems to consist of him and one doctor. It claims to be a charity but the Charity Commission seems to have no knowledge of it. The interview was nothing more than the usual anti-Assad diatribe. His last organisation went bust owing about £700k but was scooped up by Avon rubber and makes gas masks.

    • N_

      Very interesting. I listened to the interview but not very attentively. Did he say “Doctors Under Fire” was a charity? There could be legal implications if he said so and it isn’t.

      Doctors Under Fire.

      “I need to create a very quick website for an organisation I co-founded with war surgeon David Nott, chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon and international human rights lawyer Toby Cadman. It’s for our advocacy organisation called Doctors Under Fire – we are trying to harness medics, media and lawyers to come together to say STOP BOMBING HOSPITALS. We’ve done a fair bit already bit we need a website. I’m useless at such stuff – we don’t have a budget I’m afraid but this website will help us to apply for funding. If anyone would be able to help us pro bono for now we won’t forget it and can sort you out later? It doesn’t need to be flash – just something that says who we are, what we do and links to the media stuff we’ve already done. I’ve bought a domain name and for the right person they’d be able to whizz something up in a coffee break I’m sure.”

      It may be connected with the David Nott Foundation.

      It is quite revolting that men who have farted through silk all their lives paint themselves as being “under fire”.

      At their own website they call themselves a “not for profit NGO”. Were they turned down for charity status, or was there some reason they didn’t want to apply?

      And isn’t there a BMA rule about medics (the vast majority of whom aren’t real doctors in any subject) calling themselves “doctor” in their advertising?

      • Jo Dominich

        N_ thanks for this post – what a load of old B****s this man speaks. He of the SKripal well it could have been on the car door handle, in the petrol tank, in the restaurant – in wherever he could think of to peddle the Govt lies. Doctors Under Fire? Do we not have Medicins St Frontier in place? Who incidentally, uncovered and brought to the world’s attention the Massacre at Jenin and other Israeli atrocities? I wonder, if Hamish Idiot’s crew actually has approached the Israeli Government for them to stop bombing hospitals?

  • M.J.

    Perhaps, following a vote of no confidence in September, we will have a general election followed by a new government which will respect the UN resolution on the Chagos Islands. Who knows, it may also organise a second Brexit referendum and a second one on Scottish independence, if, in either case, the best opinion polls indicate that a clear and stable majority of voters (say, over 55%) want it.

    • Doghouse

      Let me get this right – the current govt disregards the UN and respects the democratic vote whilst this new imaginary govt – if it gets in – is proposed to get its act together and respect the UN whilst simultaneously disrespecting the democratic vote of the public to whom it is accountable. In order to justify this blatant disregard they are to respect *the best opinion polls* – seemingly better than the ballot box. Which are these best opinion polls that are not owned, bought into or manipulated – answers below please. And, had the referendum vote been say 55/45, would we be now looking for something like 58% from these best polls or, as the voting public (contrary to those taking part in opinion polls) are thick, easily led, isolationist or racist would maybe 56ish to 57 be enough to demolish what little remains of so called democracy in these islands? Sheesh.

      • M.J.

        I think the government should respect both the UN and the 2016 referendum. But two past Prime Ministers have indicated their support for a second Brexit referendum, and in my view their opinion deserves to be taken seriously. Let’s see what happens, come September.

        • Doghouse

          So the govt should respect the referendum, but then again, maybe not.
          Perhaps the previous prime ministers should respect the referendum then the country can get on with being a country. The likes of Blair were bought and paid for long ago whilst the voting public mostly were not, and mostly still has a soul.

          Personally, I care not either way, but if we want a democracy then we have to behave like a democracy from the top down. Many accuse the Bojo of being a fascist and maybe this will prove correct, time will show, maybe not. Fascism is imposing ones will without regard to democratic process and attempting to overthrow/turn a democratic vote by any means possible is essentially, velvet glove fascism. But no look, the fascism is over there see!

          • Deb O'Nair

            One thing that Brexit has shown is that without a fair and representative press democracy can not function. Having a bunch of millionaires in the pay of billionaire lying through their teeth to the public via the billionaire owned media and then sending them off to the ballot box is not democracy, which is the crux of the debate that politicians and the media tip-toe around; the public were conned, misled and lied to by a bunch of charlatans and should be given a chance to make an *informed* choice.

          • Doghouse

            I didn’t say we were a democracy, I said if we wanted to be a democracy then we need to start behaving like one and stop having our chains yanked. The establishment doesn’t vaguely resemble anything democratic, the politicians are about as alien from the word as it gets, and the public tend to prefer conditional democracy. The example isn’t going to come from the top so maybe we should set the tone. You do the public a dis-service, and both sides lied during debate. Politicians who wanted out prettied up their picture, those who wanted in equally did so, lies all around, die cast along with votes. No one side has a lion’s share of lies or air time and the public are not just lied to in the run up to every GE, they are not just lied to by their elected troughers now and then, they are lied to all the time. They see through it, which is almost certainly a major reason as to why the vote went as it did, they see politicians as dishonest and chose to reduce the number lying to them.

            One thing is for sure, wherever the mess ends up, will be exactly, exactly where the real power base wants it to be and there ain’t a darn thing that you, or my non cast vote can do about that little certainty. Anyone who thinks Cameron had the authority or wit to dream up a referendum wheeze all on his own would be below even him in half wittery. Prime ministers don’t make monumental decisions like that, they carry them out……

    • Andrew (Andy) Crow

      ….and perhaps the skies will be filled with flocks of flying pigs, MJ. Lol.

      But ‘a man is gotta dream…..’ Arthur Miller said so…or at least he got Willy Loman to say it for him.

      Nothing good is likely to happen until we as electors accept some responsibility for electing psychopaths to govern us, and find a better source of politicians. I wish I knew where me might find them….. and how we might persuade them into office. (I suspect the latter is the most challenging difficulty)

  • Dungroanin

    Guardians politics live blog has cancelled its hols and is bubbling away – giving rolling coverage to bobo’s bare armed, tie tucked bumbling around a hospital being doctory – Nurse!

    Steve Bell keeps his boot on the throat! Libdems go into meltdown.

    Corbyns simple letter to the parliamentarians is ignored and talk is turned from let the people decide to they need a gnu with no prior election. If they don’t want Labour to have a chance to form an interim if there is a no confidence vote – why doesn’t Johnson call an election instead???

    Because he is tasked to run the clock down – without letting the EU doing a sneaky extension, like they did to May; and because they know that Labour is actually prepared for a general election this time and they don’t have a 20 point ‘poll’ lead, and they have shot their bolt on the terrorist anti-semetic propaganda.

    The establishment is in a quandry – they are caught between a rock and the deepblue sea with not even a war to save them!

    • Deb O'Nair

      The summer media campaign is like one long political broadcast for the pig that walks on two legs. A cynic might suggest that the timing of the Tory leadership contest was deliberately set to enable months of positive media coverage while the Brexit clock gets rundown followed by a quick dash to the elections after the dastardly deed is done.

      • Dungroanin

        They don’t want an election before or after the putative hard brexit – not while the Corbynites can win.
        The only way to avoid it is, is to have the hard Brexit, which would entail a national emergency – yellow hammer ( do we really believe it isn’t a ‘leak’?) is the narrative manufacturing towards that – so that a unelected government can be implemented sans the Corbynites.

        • Deb O'Nair

          I agree that they do not *want* an election but after 31st October they probably think the Brexit Party will be irrelevant to most leave voters and will try and consolidate another term before their shit hits the fan and splatters everyone.

  • Sharp Ears

    Israel bars Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-49363041

    Trump supports the ban. Q. Is the US Israel’s poodle or is Israel the US’s poodle. Hard to tell. It’s a brace of poodles!

    ‘lhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were due to visit the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem next week.
    Both have supported the boycott movement against Israel, but Israeli law allows supporters of the campaign to be banned from visiting.
    President Trump earlier tweeted it would show “great weakness” if the pair were allowed entry.
    Ms Omar described Israel’s move as “an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation”.
    Mr Trump earlier had taken to Twitter to urge that the two lawmakers be blocked from visiting, adding that “they hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds”.’

    I wish Messrs Dorsey and Williams (co-founders) at Twitter would ban him. A Saudi prince now owns 34.9m of the shares.
    https://qz.com/519388/this-saudi-prince-now-owns-more-of-twitter-than-jack-dorsey-does/

    ‘Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people,
    & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting
    them back in office. They are a disgrace!’

    Trump has 63.3m followers.

  • Gary

    Good God! Johnson is an absolute fool!

    As you point out, there is already a consulate in Jerusalem, so there is no NEED to ‘move’ there. We are already in the city providing necessary services. This will be a renaming and moving a few officials to make a point, that point being Palestine is to be shafted (again) by Britain. I have always been proud of the fact that Britain DIDN’T blindly follow the US in total support for Israel and it’s annexation of the land of Palestine and neighbouring countries. Now WE will be on the side of the aggressor.

    And using this to leverage the issues that Labour is having with anti Semitism is disgusting. An act of bad faith upon bad faith. The resultant ‘special relationship’ will be similar to that of owner and poodle, this time there will be no way back from it. I’m assuming that future governments won’t have the guts to overturn this and we’ll be left looking like we support EVERYTHING the Israelis do.

    Even for Boris this is low…

  • Komodo

    Not too sanguine about soothsayers, these days.The way things are going, we’re going to end up back in the EUSSR with Gary Lineker or Laura Kuenssberg as PM! And everyone who matters knows that the two state solution is a fantasy whose only purpose is to be waved at optimists to give them false hope. Where the embassy is makes sod-all difference to the zionist project, we can’t really pretend that we want to be aligned with the EU on anything, and our main objection should be the cost of the move. If Israel wants to leech on our negligible prestige, our agreement should include the words, “Fine. But you’re paying for it”.

  • N_

    On-topic:

    They have now been asked to go back and look at a quick fix involving moving the Ambassador and immediate staff to Jerusalem and renaming the Consulate already there as the Embassy.” (emphasis added)

    That’s interesting. Presumably that would require the British government to recognise that its contacts with Palestinian organisations, NGOs and individuals in the 1967 Occupied Territories and in West Jerusalem should all come under the rubric of British-Israeli relations.

    How’s that going down in the consulate?

    How’s that going down at MI6 officers’ meetings with their Arab contacts in London and elsewhere?

  • N_

    Bolton also discussed the possibility of UK support for Israeli annexation of areas of the West Bank to “solve” the illegality of Israeli settlements on occupied territory. My FCO sources believe this is going to be much more difficult politically for the Cabinet to agree than simply moving the Embassy, due to lack of support on their own backbenches.

    In practice turning the Jerusalem consulate (which is currently not accredited to Israel or to any other group) into an embassy to the State of Israel would recognise the Zionist annexation of East Jerusalem, when as I understand it the current position is that not only does Britain not recognise Israeli sovereignty de jure over any part of Greater Jerusalem but there is also a sense in which it does not recognise Israeli sovereignty de facto even over West Jerusalem.

    I wonder if they go ahead with this craven plan the FCO will choose to do it on a Friday afternoon?

    • N_

      There will be major international financial implications if this happens. To get a handle on why, ask why it hasn’t happened so far, even more than 50 years after the Six Day War.

    • Laguerre

      The consulate is located in East Jerusalem, as far as I know, and served in the past as representation to the Palestinians. It’s going to look rather strange if it suddenly becomes the representation to Israel, although located in territory whose annexation by Israel is controversial. Britain may thereby recognise Israel’s annexation by military force, but other countries don’t.

      • Goose

        If it is in East Jerusalem, needless to say it would be hugely controversial and provocative step. I don’t see the FCO wanting to put its diplomats in such a dangerous place in the highly volatile ME. Obviously diplomatic staff wouldn’t want to be placed in such an invidious position either; used to make a one-sided anti-Palestinian political statement. Security would be a nightmare.

        • Laguerre

          That’s right, I just checked the address. It’s located in the quarter of Sheikh Jarrah (not an Israeli name) in East Jerusalem. This is going to be embarrassing.

  • elkern

    OT (sorry)… ran across interesting allegations about a Nicole Junkermann, recently appointed to an NHS HealthTech Advisory Board:

    https://theswamp.media/the-epstein-associate-nobody-s-talking-about-the-idf-linked-bond-girl-infiltrating-the-uk-nhs

    The link posits that Junkermann is Mossad asset. She is on Board of Directors of Carbyne; other officers include Ehud Barak & other (ex? nah) Mossad types. She is also linked to OWKIN, and AI startup which is apparently now going to get patient data from London Hospitals, ostensibly as machine-learning data-set for the AI they are developing.

    Junkermann was appointed to the NHS Advisor Board by Matt Hancock, a name that I think I’ve seen on other posts here.

    (I’m in USA, hoping for perspective from you “blokes” on the East side of the pond)

  • Blissex

    «Johnson heads the most radically pro-Israel cabinet in UK history and the symbolic gesture of rejection of Palestinian rights»

    I am getting a bit tired with well meaning people cointinuing to confuse Israel and Likud, because that’s exactly the aim of Likud, and it is Likud are pushing the usual noxious antisemitic propaganda that all jews and israelis are a clique, and the clique is called Likud.

    Johnson heads the most radically pro-Likud UK cabinet, and there are many people in Israel and many people among jews and gentiles worldwide who are pro-Israel and at the same time detest the far-right politics of both Johnson and Likud (and similar parties).

    As to being pro-Israeli that is not a fault: there are people who argue for the disestablishment of Israel, but they are a small minority and I don’t belong that, and neither for example Corbyn, who is also radically pro-Israel.
    Being radically pro-Israel does not exclude advocating the same right for palestinians, for both to live secure and free from terrorism and attacks in their own states. Likud is against that, and confusing Likud and Israel just helps them.

      • TonyT12

        Which cause?

        The USA’s mission to stir up maximum trouble for Beijing at any and every opportunity, and US (and our) media’s daft exaggeration for effect, or cause of the demonstrators in HK?

        I understand both, and meddling from the West is undermining the cause of the protesters for sure. Bolton, Pompeo and Trump have no interest whatsoever in the welfare of HK people – this is bloodsport for Washington.

        HK is a great lively place and the deal when the UK left looked good. This situation of some independence from the mainland should be maintained as agreed. However … for HK agitators to involve themselves with Washington’s ambitions to undermine China was and remains a big mistake.

    • Blissex

      «Sounds more like the FCO getting going because NSA Bolton told it to.»

      In 1941 Churchill and Attlee accepted USA suzerainty over the UK, as part of the terms offered by Roosevelt (he in effect asked Churchill and Attle to choose between surrender with terms to him or without terms to Hitler, and Churchill and Attlee obviously made the better choice). Since then the UK foreign, military and security organizations have been under USA control, more or less formally, and since 1956 even more so. The french chose instead to be a junior ally rather than a protectorate. One consequence that came to light, in an article by William Rees-Mogg in “The Times”, 2006-08-07, my usual quote:

      When Jack Straw was replaced by Margaret Beckett as Foreign Secretary, it seemed an almost inexplicable event. Mr Straw had been very competent — experienced, serious, moderate and always well briefed. Margaret Beckett is embarrassingly inexperienced.
      I made inquiries in Washington and was told that Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, had taken exception to Mr Straw’s statement that it would be “nuts” to bomb Iran.

      Side not: he had more precisely said that it would be “nuts” to *nuclear bomb* Iran, he was not objecting to some of the usual conventional bombing.
      The United States, it was said, had put pressure on Tony Blair to change his Foreign Secretary. Mr Straw had been fired at the request of the Bush Administration, particularly at the Pentagon. … The alternative explanation was more recently given by Irwin Stelzer in The Spectator; he has remarkably good Washington contacts and is probably right. His account is that Mr Straw was indeed dismissed because of American anxieties, but that Dr Rice herself had become worried, on her visit to Blackburn, by Mr Straw’s dependence on Muslim votes. About 20 per cent of the voters in Blackburn are Islamic; Mr Straw was dismissed only four weeks after Dr Rice’s visit to his constituency.
      It may be that both explanations are correct. The first complaint may have been made by Mr Rumsfeld because of Iran; Dr Rice may have withdrawn her support after seeing the Islamic pressures in Blackburn.
      At any rate, Irwin Stelzer’s account confirms that Mr Straw was fired because of American pressure.

      As our blogger’s personal history shows, the role of the FCO is in practice to support and facilitate USA policy anyhow, and UK ambassadors follow the CIA and Pentagon line (the USA foreign office has become less and less influential as to foreign policy) with their very limited means (the americans probably consider them “decorative”, like the UK military).
      Note that I don’t object much to that, there isn’t in practice a lot of difference between “junior ally” and “protectorate”, and the latter has had some advantages, and not many disadvantages.

  • Sharp Ears

    Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has reaffirmed Germany’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a visit to Jordan.
    She said on Monday that such an agreement would be a “good basis for living together,” AP said.
    https://www.rt.com/newsline/466832-german-defense-jordan-palestinian/

    It is not a ‘conflict’. It is a cruel occupation.

    A state cannot be created from bantustans dotted amongst the settlements.
    https://mondoweiss.net/2018/06/disappearing-palestine-spotlight/

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The 77th Brigade must have moved in to the Guardian. Reporting on the drive by the Syrian government to retake Idlib province from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham the scribe states “Their presence (HTS) there has been used as a PRETEXT by Russia and Syria to recapture all of north-western Syria … ”
    Pretext, noun, a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason.
    So the presence of an Al Qaeda franchise controlling territory is not a REAL reason for action.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/rebels-withdraw-in-key-syrian-town-as-pro-assad-and-turkish-troops-gather

    • michael norton

      It seems extremely unlikely to me that Boris Johnson will relocate the United Kingdom embassy to Jerusalem before Halloween,
      it is also very unlikely that we would do this before the Syrian “Civil” war is concluded, the question of The Golan also needs to be regularlised. It is very likely that Israel will strike Syria again, soon, any movement of our embassy would seem precipitous.

        • michael norton

          It seems I was correct, Israel was attacking Syria, yet again, last night.
          https://www.rt.com/news/467231-israel-struck-targets-damascus/
          The Israeli Defense Forces have struck multiple ‘Iranian targets’ outside Damascus, claiming it helped prevent a deadly attack by ‘killer drones.’ Syrian state TV said the country’s air defenses intercepted most of the missiles.
          There were multiple reports of explosions in the sky over Damascus on Saturday evening before midnight, as Syrian air defense forces engaged “hostile targets” coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

          • Alyson

            The deal which Netanyahu agreed with Putin is that Israel can strike Iranian forces in Syria, who are there at the request of the official Syrian Government, and Iran can strike Israeli forces inside Syria, but not on the occupied Golan Heights, which Iran is assisting Syrian forces to retake. But if Iran strikes Israel, or Israel strikes Iran, Russia will not support the aggressor, or transgressor of the agreement. Israel has moved the border of Israel into Syria, and sold mineral rights to the occupied land, ensuring that Cheney, Rothschild et al have a stake in supporting the territory becoming part of Israel

    • michael norton

      HMS Kent (F78) is steaming full steam ahead to the Gulf of Persia to take over from Montrose.

    • michael norton

      Operation Sentinel 2019, the U.S. Central Command effort to promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Persian Gulf.

      Soon the U.K. will have
      HMS Duncan
      HMS Montrose
      HMS Kent

      on duty as part of Operation Sentinel.

  • Sharp Ears

    How kind of the Israelis. They are allowing Palestinians who are permitted to leave the open air prison of Gaza to use Ben Gurion (previously Lydda and then Lod) airport.

    Israel actively pushing Palestinian emigration from Gaza, official says
    Senior official says Jerusalem looking for other countries to take in emigres, willing to let Gazans use Israeli airport to leave
    19 August 2019
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-actively-pushing-palestinian-emigration-from-gaza-official-says/

    The usual exit for them is only with a permit (if you are lucky) through the Erez ‘crossing’, a building resembling an airport hangar, through a concrete tube where you are under surveillance by CCTV and armed IDF members.
    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ConsularServices/Pages/Crossing_points.aspx

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erez_Crossing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Gurion_Airport

  • michael norton

    Greece closes out ship after warnings from America
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-49419375
    The move comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened sanctions on any country that helps the tanker.

    Adrian Darya-1 left Gibraltar on Sunday and listed the Greek port Kalamata as its destination.

    More mindlessness from U.S.A.

  • Andrew (Andy) Crow

    …..and of course the constant deluge of fabricated ‘anti-Semitism’ media coverage of the past twelve months or so will make any objections by the Labour ‘Opposition’ virtually impossible.

  • michael norton

    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri called Israel’s alleged surveillance drones a “blatant attack on Lebanon’s sovereignty”.

    “This new aggression… forms a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards more tension,” he said in a statement.

    Israel reportedly also carried out an airstrike last month on a weapons depot in Iraq. The New York Times, citing unnamed US officials, said that Israel was behind the 19 July strike on an arms depot that the officials said was being used by Iran to move weapons to Syria.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-49464546

    So Israel seem to be attacking Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, anyone else who they dislike?

  • David stainton

    When will we take back control of our country from the murderous zionist influence?

    • kathy

      I can tell you for sure – there is.

      [[ Kathy, please clear your browser cache to remove the spurious URL – which is actually the first line of one of your earlier comments. ]

  • michael norton

    And they are still at it.

    Israel strikes Palestinian group in Lebanon after punishing Hamas for Gaza rocket fire.
    https://www.rt.com/news/467282-israel-lebanon-gaza-strikes/
    Israeli airstrikes targeted the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon’s Bekaa region, local media report. Earlier, the IDF struck several targets in Gaza, in retaliation for rocket fire.
    “Three Israeli airstrikes targeted the Lebanese-Syria border east of Zahle… explosions were heard in several parts of the Bekaa valley,”

    Any country or group that is Shia seem to get them worked up for missile strikes.

      • michael norton

        So if the taxpayers of the U.S.A. are paying for Israel to destabilise the Middle East,
        we might conclude the government of the U.S.A. are complicit in enhancing the ability of Israel to non stop missile/bomb the neighbours.
        I know Donald Trump claims Israel has the right to defend its borders but Israel is currently extending its borders, an example is the annexing of the Syrian Golan, the suppressing of the Syrian Government forces from taking the Islamic State enclave in Syria nestling against the Israeli held Golan and the missiling of Syrian troops as they move about in the Syrian held Golan.

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