Guardian characterizes Boris Johnson’s pro-Israel, anti-BDS comments as a “gaffe”

The Guardian published a story today (July 14th) by Chris Johnston on the appointment, by Britain’s new prime minister, of former London Mayor Boris Johnson as foreign secretary titled ‘Britain’s new foreign secretary Boris Johnson: a career of international gaffes‘.


Among the “gaffes” listed, were comments by Johnson while on a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories last year.

Israel – November 2015

Johnson’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories is severely curtailed by his hosts in protest at a series of strongly pro-Israel remarks. They included telling an audience in Tel Aviv that a trade boycott of Israeli goods was “completely crazy” and supported by “corduroy-jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics in the UK”.

Tellingly, another Guardian journalist today on twitter (deputy editor Paul Johnson) repeated the mantra that Johnson “insulted” the Palestinians during his visit.

paul johnson tweet

What these Guardian journalists are referring to is the row over Johnson’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories last November, in which two Palestinian NGOs cancelled previously scheduled meetings with him to protest statements he made on the trip critical of BDS.

As the Guardian reported at the time, during his trip, Johnson repeatedly criticized calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, describing the campaign as “foolish”, “completely crazy” and promoted by a “few lefty academics in corduroy jackets”.  Johnson defended Israel as the only democracy in the region, and the only place in the region that has “a pluralist open society.”

However, opposition to BDS represents the consensus within British politics.  

In fact, the previous government (led by David Cameron) was so hostile to BDS that it enacted new rules banning local authorities and public-sector organizations from boycotting Israeli suppliers.  A poll (commissioned by BICOM) conducted the same month Johnson made his trip to the region showed that only a very small percentage of Brits support boycotting Israel.

In a poll conducted last year, 84% of British Jews expressed their belief that boycotts of businesses selling Israeli products is a form of anti-Jewish intimidation.

Within the Guardian echo-chamber, of course, those who take the view that boycotts against Israel are counter-productive, morally hypocritical, discriminatory, and arguably antisemitic, are often immediately marginalized and placed in the worst possible political category: Zionist ‘right-wingers’!

Regardless of where one stands on the appointment of Johnson as foreign secretary, to suggest that his criticism of BDS while in Israel represented a “gaffe” is absurd. 


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19 replies »

  1. What the Guardian will never understand is that much of the electorate *likes* Johnson’s remarks, simply because they’re accurate:
    – BDS is crazy (and harms the Palestinians more than Israel)
    – the Hildebeest is indeed a Nurse Ratched
    – Erdogan is indeed capable of sex with a goat and does not belong in the EU (one impetus for Brexit)

        • koufaxmitzvah, this is what, then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson had to say about Donald Trump.

          • Every terrorist attack increases the likelihood that Trump will be elected President of the USA – because the democrats are seen as weak, ineffective outside of platitudes, and unable to rein in the BLM supremacists and stem the shootings in Chicago AKA Chiraq..

            • It’s that stupefying ignorance which makes Donald Drumpf completely unqualified to be the leader of the United States.

              This sounds even better with the fancy accent.

              • Unlike the stupidity (I doubt that you know what ‘stupefying’ means, you sad ignoramus) and ignorance and racism and corruption of zerobama, you mean?

                • Another Klassic Kinory moment. Like when you called yourself a Moderate all the while maintaining Obama is a Muslim.

                  Klassic Kinory the Kook is a Drumpfstein. Nuff said.

  2. Why should the Guardian think that BDS — which is in essence a call for starving out Israelis and ending the only decent stable state in the ME. — is crazy? BDS in fact expresses their own viewpoint, though they would never be honest enough to admit it.

  3. When you spend so much time and ink hiding the facts as the Guardian does, when the facts slip out you regard it as a gaffe.
    It’s the alternate universe of the Guardian.

  4. I’m pleasantly surprised the 84% of the British public feels that the Beguile, Deceive, and Sham Movement is anti-Semitic. There may be hope after all.

  5. Beyond the un-surprising CiF view that calling BDS what it is, is a negative action (since they support BDS, a politician who didn’t commit a “gaffe” regarding it would either praise that vile movement or have no comment at all), is their lack of intelligence as far as defining the word “gaffe” itself. A gaffe is an action that ends up having negative consequences in a way that hurts the person or group that commits it. For example, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments about Donald Trump were certainly a gaffe because they took implicit political action regarding to a should-be-apolitical part of the justice system and made it overt, and handed Trump a huge PR victory he didn’t remotely deserve. Boris Johnson’s remarks on BDS were not a gaffe at all because A) he meant what he said, B) the Palestinian reaction reinforced why Johnson’s Conservative Party is not sympathetic to them and C) he suffered no personal ill effects from the BDS crowd (hell, he would be the new British PM now if he’d wanted the job). It’s not a gaffe just because it offends the Left, and the we-are-the-entire-world bullshit of the Left keeps getting highlighted by pretending it is.

  6. Calling Judea and Samaria “occupied Palestinian territories” is itself an act of Jew/Israel hatred. It is also a lie. It may be “disputed” territory, but it certainly is not “occupied” within any honest interpretation of international law,