The UK’s Disproportionate Response

CIF’s Israel attack dogs went wild when British Foreign Minister David Miliband announced on Tuesday that he had expelled an Israel diplomat in retaliation for Mossad’s alleged cloning of British passports. Former Ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles – who is on record as believing that Jewish historians have no place on the UK Iraq War Enquiry – sanctimoniously welcomed the expulsion as ‘action, not words’ suited to a country that “continues to flout international law and ignore any UN condemnatory resolution that does not suit it.”

But look what happened in an arguably precisely analogous case in Israel, to one of the Guardian’s favourite sons, Alastair Crooke.

Crooke used to work for MI6, the UK equivalent of Mossad. Now he is the Beirut-based Director of Conflicts Forum and as someone who showed disregard for the opposition demonstrations in Iran after the elections, is even too extreme for Mark Perry (who started last week’s malicious misrepresentations of what General David Petraeus really said about Israel). Perry quit as a Director of  Conflicts Forum – started by Crooke – in protest.

Crooke was was sent to Israel, as part of the British consular delegation in Jerusalem, ostensibly to oversee Israeli Palestinian relations on behalf of the UK Government.

Sheila Raviv – an Israeli freelance journalist – says that Crooke had relationships with some highly questionable people in and around Jerusalem, people who were not connected to his diplomatic work. She relayed these concerns to the then British Ambassador (2001-3) Sherrard Cowper-Coles.

The Ambassador was apparently very sympathetic to her information and asked her to prepare a full report. But within ten minutes of sending it by email, Raviv received a frighteningly threatening email warning her off – the Ambassador’s personal computer had been hacked! Concerned for her own safety, Raviv reported her concerns to the Shin Bet.

Crooke was investigated and within a short time was packing his bags. But there was no public announcement of an expulsion. The Israeli government had the prerogative of a formal public expulsion, of course – as all governments have for the diplomatic corps whom they host. But it seems that Israel chose to magnanimously offer the UK the chance of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’  that Crooke could go quietly and below the radar, so as not to embarrass an ally.

It was later revealed that Crooke was a member of MI6 and the astonishing breadth of his terrorist contacts became known. An Italian magazine, Il Riformista, commented as follows (July 2005):

This activity over the past year finished by provoking a growing resentment among Israeli authorities, who a couple of times went so far as to issue “warnings” to Crooke and to present confidential protests about him to the British embassy in Tel Aviv. Further, on 19 May, the deputy chief of information at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Gideon Meir, referring to the secret British meetings, saw fit to say that “any contact with Hamas on the part of representatives of foreign governments is considered by the Israeli government as encouragement for striking us with terrorist acts.”

Yet despite this flagrant breach of trust, Israel – unlike Miliband on Tuesday – did not seek to turn a diplomatic spat into a PR opportunity.  Crooke’s departure took place quietly and discretely, out of respect to an ally.

Why did Miliband not show the same respect and magnanimity towards Israel as Israel showed to the UK in the Crooke case? And of course as an Arabist and a former Middle East Ambassador, Miles must know all about the Crooke case. Not mentioning it must have been an oversight, of course.

Ah, but there is an election within six weeks in the UK and Miliband knows that Israel-bashing plays well with Labour’s core vote. And Miles just happens to be deputy chairman of the Libyan British Business Council.

The moral of this story: As far as this Foreign Minister and the FCO’s camel corps are concerned, when votes and money are at stake, “respect for allies” can go hang, especially when that ally is Israel and the UK Jewish community just lies back and thinks of England.

As Oliver Worth says:

British Jewry, in its muted action, has goaded the willingness of the British government to stab Israel in the back. We are undoubtedly in a situation where the British government has no fear of provoking the pro-Israel and Jewish population into meaningful action, rendering Israel by far the easiest target when finding a scapegoat to cover up domestic misgivings. This must be the wake-up call.

He might have added that Israeli citizens do not blow up UK ones.

(UPDATE: The Spectator has published an apology on its site which reads as follows:

A blog by Melanie Phillips posted on 28 January 2011 reported an allegation that Alastair Crooke, director of Conflicts Forum, had been expelled from Israel and dismissed for misconduct from Government service or the EU after threatening a journalist whose email he had unlawfully intercepted. We accept that this allegation is completely false and we apologise to Mr Crooke.

The ‘allegation’ referred to in this apology refers to the post above from which Melanie Phillips quoted. As can be seen, however, this post made no such allegation. Insofar as an inference could be drawn to that effect, we would like to make it clear that no such implication was intended and no such inference should be drawn. However, neither CiF Watch nor Sheila Raviv made any such allegation, and consequently the Spectator’s statement is inaccurate.)

Categories: Guardian

Tagged as: , ,

32 replies »

  1. Powerful post. Louise. Good investigation and presentation. Cifwatch outscoops the MSM!

    In this era, it is Israel that shows the fair play morality that the world used to admire in the UK which unfortunately seems to have forgotten these gentlemanly arts.

  2. Thank you for posting this so that my story can reach a much wider audience. It is my belief that Ambassador Cowper Coles was deeply embarrassed by Crookes actions and the highly distasteful people Crooke was associating with.
    Mr Crooke was abusing his position as the EU advisor on Palestinian Affairs posted in the Jerusalem Consulate of the UK.

  3. Was this during the Second Intifada?

    Unbelievable. UFB.

    The Hypocrisy of Albion. And TG.

    Sheila, would you please, please write a piece for CIF?

  4. I should add that an internet acquaintance claims that the Labour Party did it so that it wouldn’t lose its antisemitic votes to the BNP.

  5. There have been numerous other instances of “Disproportionate Responses” by the British government with respect to the history of its former League of Nations mandate in Palestine.

    Perhaps in both directions? I only pose the question.

  6. ‘Perhaps in both directions? I only pose the question.’

    Sure you do.

    You mean the way they stopped Palestinian Arab Muslims wiping out Palestinian Jews in 1936?

    Yes, that was very disproportionate.

  7. You mean the way they stopped Palestinian Arab Muslims wiping out Palestinian Jews in 1936?

    Actually, the most effective tactic was Etzel’s abandonment of its policy of “restraint” in favour of “active defense.”

  8. Thanks Louise

    No question that the incident of killing the terrorist in Dubai has been politicized by the British. They should be thanking Israel instead. Can anyone doubt that Israel (Mossad) has consulted with and helped the British with security in Britain at some point?

  9. I thought you were going to explain how Oliver Miles is a hypocrit, but then you went off on some rather confused conspiracy theory.

    And then this completely irrelevant tid-bit:
    “He might have added that Israeli citizens do not blow up UK ones.”
    Perhaps not… but they certainly do shoot them. Thomas Hurndall being one victim. The difference? Whilst the bombing by British citizens had nothing whatsoever to do with the British government/establishment, it emerged that the shooting of Mr. Hurndall was sanctioned within the IDF’s rules of engagement.

  10. The fact that the showcase expulsion of the diplomat was to appease the UK Israel hater base is beyond doubt. Lets see if they take it further by demanding criminal charges against the “murderers” who killed the real murderer. Probably they will not. Hoping this charade will limit the number of Guardian articles and nicker twists among the Arabist Left.

    The whole affair from the start was a show. These things go on all the time yet this time, one became a reality show.
    The way Dubai managed to turn this into a fuss while openly revealing itself housing Hamas officials is also telling about where priorities lie there and also in the West. At least Dubai has an excuse. They are now owned by their bigger and more fundamentalist neighbor, Abu Dhabi who bailed them out of their bubble (They have renamed the tall Burj Dubai after the ruler of Abu Dhabi) and is turning Dubai back toward its Sharia roots. Notice the increase of expat arrests for holding hands and kissing on beaches or restaurants.

    This public hazing of Israel going on in Europe and now even the US with Obama s childish theatrics of denying dinner for Bibi reveals that something more substantial than settlements and the liquidation of terrorists is at the center of discord between Israel and the world.
    That “something” can only be Iran.
    We, the viewers are treated to a show employing every gasbag on both sides of the Atlantic harping about Jerusalem apartments and passports while the grown ups are bartering over who gets to press it on Iran knowing full well that no peace will exist in the Middle East while the Mullahs continue in Tehran.

  11. Threatening someone is horrible and the guy is a pillock.However you are comparing this to using Brit passports to send a ham fisted travelling circus of in total 26 ??? folk to drug and throttle an enemy.

    I realise you are grabbing every straw since Netanyahu stepped in the doodoo but this is , despite being interesting , an attempt at tu quoque that will not balance. I wish the journalist well and note her contribution here. None the less..

  12. Abandoned Hope
    Clearly you have abandoned hope!!!
    Prime Minster Netanyahu didn’t drop anything – the only things dropped were promises and guarantees by the US administration!!!
    This is not the issue however. The issue is disproportionate response of the UK Government, of whom we all expected so much more to the use of twenty some passports out of 10,000 that the FO has admitted are forged each year.
    I believe that aiding the enemy is a far greater crime than forging a passport! This is not tu quoque although your attempt at “cleverness” is noted. Tu quoque applies only if the crimes are similar whereas in this case the disparity of action and response is enormous!

  13. arkb – if the British establishment and British people as a whole took more responsibility for and control of the disgusting incitement against Israel which takes place daily in UK universities, including the one Thomas Hurndall attended, then hopefully fewer young people like him would deliberately and knowingly put themselves in the line of fire in a conflict which is not their business.
    You make it sound as though Thomas Hurndall was walking down a street in Tel Aviv eating ice cream when he was shot. Obviously that is not the case. Radical chic tourism to a war zone has its risks and Thomas Hurndall was unfortunate in that he chose to put himself in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. It’s called ‘death by misadventure’.



    Well said. Look at the marketing spin that this particular brand of ‘radical chic tourism’ is given.

    At a time when kids leaving university find it impossible to get a job, ISM entices them in with its ‘radical chic’ spin.

  15. @Israelinurse:
    Thomas Hurndall was undisputably unarmed. He was shot by an ON DUTY Israeli soldier. He was shot WITHIN the IDF’s rules of engagement. That’s not misadventure… It’s state-sanctioned murder (whether pre-meditated or not).

    Hurndall was on Palestinian territory when he was shot. He was invited to be there by the Palestinians who live there. Whether Israel wanted him there or not is absolutely irrelevant.

  16. Abandon hope

    Threatening someone is horrible and the guy is a pillock

    You mean like when certain UK Muslims threaten violence in the UK unless the UK leaves Iraq or Afghanistan?

  17. ‘Hurndall was on Palestinian territory when he was shot. ‘

    He was in the middle of a war zone between Israel and the P.A., which had embarked on the 2nd intifada, remember? He entered that zone as a partisan to one side, during that war.

    ‘He was shot WITHIN the IDF’s rules of engagement.’

    No he wasn’t.

    ‘In 27 June 2005, Hayb was convicted of manslaughter, obstruction of justice, giving false testimony and inducing comrades in his unit to bear false witness and in August 11, he was sentenced to 11 and a half years for manslaughter, of which he will serve 8 years by a military court.[1][3]

    ‘It’s state-sanctioned murder (whether pre-meditated or not).’

    Can you resist displaying what a nutter you are?

  18. Sheila Raviv

    ” Netanyahu didn’t drop anything – the only things dropped were promises and guarantees by the US administration!!!”

    Compared to him saying ..9 / 11 had positives for Israel a moment of bluntness …you are right .

    Him saying “Sit down Mr Biden was your flight? What’s that noise did you say??…that’s 30 cement mixers why do you ask? ” is a mere mini blunder.

    You are about to enter ” interesting times ” I wish you well.

  19. Yeah, Sheila, ignore Berchmans/Abandon. He thinks he’s on a mission to monitor cifwatch on behalf of cif. As you can see, he’s both sufficiently retarded and egoistical to take that role seriously.

    He’s a late middle aged Scottish nationalist eejit with too much time on his hands, when he doesn’t have a Tennents Super Strong in either one or both of them:

    And yes, he does reflect the average degree of intelligence and awareness on cif.

    This is what he looks like, by the way.

    And this is his ideal woman (he’s single, as you can tell):

  20. Actually…

    ” ignore Berchmans/Abandon. , he’s both sufficiently retarded …”


    This is a site for monitoring anti- Semitism which, as you may know, is a form of discrimination . So is prejudice against mental difficulties . The Soviets amongst others were pretty good at this.. as you may remember if you are over 30 (age I mean not IQ )

    I guess you are over 30 years old.