Middle East minister: Downing Street knew of UN settlements vote beforehand
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Middle East minister: Downing Street knew of UN settlements vote beforehand

Tobias Ellwood claims the government was involved in discussions with the Foreign Office ahead of the vote

Number 10 Downing Street
Number 10 Downing Street

Downing Street was involved in discussions with the foreign office ahead of the UK voting in favour of a UN resolution branding settlements “a flagrant violation of international law”, the Middle East minister has said.

Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood made the claim in the House of Commons this week, when asked by Hendon MP Matthew Offord whether the prime minister had known about Resolution 2334 beforehand.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office discussed the UK’s voting position on UNSCR 2334 with 10 Downing Street prior to the vote in the UN Security Council,” said Ellwood.

“The UK’s support for UNSCR 2334 is consistent with our long held position that Israeli settlement activity is illegal and undermines the viability of two states for two peoples.

“As the Prime Minister… stated in her speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel in December, the UK remains one of Israel’s strongest friends, but it is important as a true friend to stress that settlements are illegal.”

The resolution has been called “a disgrace” and “an act of spite” by Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush, who added: “It is full of outrageous falsehoods, it is amoral and it was shameful that the UK Government voted in favour of it.”

At a protest rally, Arkush said he had written to Theresa May expressing “anger that British diplomats sunk to such depths” and that he wanted to know “how on earth our Government came to vote for it”.

He added: “I intend to follow up with Ministers and I will be asking them… was the Prime Minister ‘blind-sided’ as has been suggested?”

Tory MP Mike Freer had earlier told Jewish News that May had indeed been “blind-sided” by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, so news that Number 10 had been briefed and informed beforehand is likely to disappoint Jewish representatives.

May appears to have sought to balance the scales in the immediate aftermath of the 23 December vote, by criticising a speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry six days later. Arkush described this as “highly unusual” and “virtually unprecedented”.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

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...

Engaging

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.

Celebrating

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.

Pioneering

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.

Campaigning

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.

Easy access

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.

read more:
comments