Guido occasionally enjoys a drink with Peter Oborne and he is one of very few journalists willing to take a stand that is not popular. Like him Guido suspects that the threat from Jihadis-Under-the-Bed is a bit overstated. It is a maverick view, though that doesn’t make him wrong.
Peter will, it seems from reports, be arguing tonight in a Dispatches programme that the influence of the Israeli lobby is too great in Britain and that the Conservative Friends of Israel group (CFI) is “beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups”. This time Guido sees some flaws in that analysis.
CFI don’t seem to be doing a very good job because the Tories, unlike U.S. Republicans, did not back Israel’s efforts to drive out Hamas terrorism from her border regions. When Israel acted to defend itself from terrorist rocket attacks, Hague endorsed an Arab-backed UN Security Council call for a ceasefire and called for “war crimes” allegations against Israel to be investigated. The shadow foreign-secretary is not exactly a patsy for Israel.
The truth is that a Conservative Friends of Palestine group was launched in 1991 at the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool. It bombed. The meeting was addressed by the PLO’s London representative, Faisal Oweida. The PLO were anti-imperialist allies of the IRA who only attended Tory Conference venues to bomb them. Hardly likely to encourage friendship…