Just over three weeks ago the UK voted to condemn Jewish settlements at the UN as a “violation of international law.” This week it went some way towards repairing the damage by refusing to back a similar but less vehement EU motion.
Of course Britain was right to pop this French balloon: European countries telling Israelis and Palestinians how to build peace in the Middle East is like the Pacific island nation of Nauru telling the UK how to exit the European Union.
Whether or not the UK helped lead the way on the UN resolution, it certainly did so this week in Paris. If the outcry that followed support for the motion three weeks ago has brought about greater understanding that such actions bring us no closer towards peace, then that is to be welcomed. If it leads to a closer eye from Downing Street on the work of the Foreign Office in this area, then that too is a significant positive.
That said, it’s understandable that some countries will now be confused by Britain’s position. France, whose idea it was to push for this weekend’s international congress on an increasingly-unlikely two-state solution, could be excused for its bemused looks. If, as an unnamed European diplomat suggested this week, our foreign policy is now being dictated by the Twitter-led whims of Donald Trump, it leaves us in a state of flux, where decades-old dogma is here today, gone tomorrow.
By way of example, Trump’s cast-iron view that he would move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem now seems to have shifted – he refused to back the plan in an interview on Sunday, despite months of saying this would be the first thing he did. It matters what Trump thinks, because what an American president does impacts on its allies. If the US does move its embassy, should we? If the US stops criticising settlement-building, should we? If the US places sanctions on the PA for incitement, do we?
There are other factors to consider. Theresa May is well-known for supporting Israel, but this week she announced a clean cleave away from the European single market, so she will know too that non-European trading partners like Israel are now more important than ever.
Expect her and Donald to pop more balloons in the coming few years.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.