Boris’ Israel visit proves he is unsuitable to represent us on the world stage


Many can be forgiven for finding Boris Johnson’s manner affable and quite comical. However, his conduct during his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories this week has been no laughing matter. A frontrunner to be our next Prime Minister has clumsily bounced around the region making an offensive remark here and reciting anti-Palestinian propaganda there.

The Mayor of London said:

I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region. [Israel] is the only place that has, in my view, a pluralist, open society…

…The supporters of this so-called boycott are really just a bunch of corduroy-jacketed academics from lefty, not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a corduroy jacket I hasten to say, but they are by and large lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and I think are highly unlikely to be influential on Britain. And this is a very, very small minority in our country who are calling for this.

He later made similar remarks in a speech and, for seemingly comedy purposes, he added the word “snaggle-toothed” into his stock playground insult.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK took issue with his description of Israel as a “pluralist society” and “democracy”:

Pluralism: A conviction that various religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society.

Democracy: a system of government in which all the people of a state or political entity are involved in making decisions about its affairs.

Doesn’t sound much like Israel to us.

The Liberal Democrat Friends Of Palestine would also like to correct Boris Johnson’s childish attempts to belittle British people helping to fight the tremendous injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people. We feel more qualified to comment on who supports boycotting Israeli goods in the hope it will hasten Netanyahu’s mission to strip Palestinians of the their land, dignity and rights. People with a wide range of political views, academics and non-academics, wearing all sorts of jackets, some with snaggled teeth and some without, identify that Israel’s government imposes injustices on Palestinians. Would Mr Johnson care to speculate on the state of the teeth, the material of the jacket or the political beliefs of all 41% of Britain’s under-30 Jewish population who say they would support sanctions against Israel to advance peace, as reported by The Jewish Chronicle?

It is black propaganda to dismiss those who oppose Israel’s maltreatment of Palestinians as purely being ‘lefties’. Even a party further to the right of the political spectrum than his own, UKIP, have a Friends of Palestine group.

The fallacious remarks by Boris has meant his trip to occupied Palestinian areas has been cut short after a Palestinian youth group cancelled its invitation to meet him. After all, he basically implied they didn’t exist. He also won’t be attending an affordable housing event or a meeting with businesswomen because of his remarks, after the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah warned him that his security “would be at risk” after his comments.

With George Osborne losing political capital by the day over tax credits and Teresa May rapidly drifting too far to the right of the electorate, Johnson seems most likely to be the next Prime Minister, however this disastrous trip has proven he lacks the suitability, sensitivity and knowledge (or his knowledge can be too easily papered-over a foreign government’s behest) to represent us on the world stage.

As entertaining as he may be on Have I Got News For You, what Palestinians are subjugated to is not a comedy panel show, and Boris should stop treating it as such. What it is is persecution. History will not show Boris to be right, history will show him in the same light as those who promoted trade with apartheid South Africa and the American Deep South segregationists. Because, what if he is right? If Israel setting up an apartheid state in the West Bank and using economic and military aggression to render Gaza uninhabitable make it a “pluralist democracy”, then we support no “pluralist democracy” of that ilk. And, if actively trying to bring about peace and equality to all peoples within the region makes us snaggle-toothed, corduroy jacketed, academic lefties then what fabulous news for dentists and corduroy manufacturers, because there are millions of us and we are growing.


* Charles Lawley is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Chapel & Hope Valley in the Derbyshire County Council Elections in 2017. He works for a humanitarian aid NGO.

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  • What Boris’s popularity shows is the ‘shallowness’ of the British public….Corbyn won’t “Push the button” but I get the feeling Boris might just do it for a ‘Larf’, Don’tcha know’….

    BTW for those who believe that Boris is a highly intelligent man pretending to be a ‘thickie’…A friend of mine was an associate of Boris and his explanation was that, “Boris is a ‘thickie’ who has worked out that pretending to be a ‘smartie pretending to be a thickie’ is the key to success”

  • Richard Underhill 16th Nov '15 - 11:22pm

    Boris Johnson has said that he is part Turkish and wanted Turkey to join the EU. He did not mention human rights issues. Does he think that Turkey is not a democracy? or does he think that Turkey is ‘not in the area’ although he must know that the former Ottoman Empire was.

  • nigel hunter 17th Nov '15 - 12:05am

    Boris is joining the club of future Conservative hopefuls for its leadership He is just as bad as the rest. To me the Conservatives will become more and more irrelevant to an ever developing world.

  • “Israel is the only democracy in the region. ”
    Lebanon is a democracy albeit of a confessional nature.

  • Helen Dudden 17th Nov '15 - 8:40am

    You were in Government with the Conservatives, now how things change.

    I would have thought there could be other comments to make that are more helpful in these difficult times.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Nov '15 - 9:26am

    Although the technology changes the political issues are familiar: such as sowing dragons’ teeth.

  • Denis Loretto 17th Nov '15 - 9:31am

    @Helen Dudden

    What on earth has this to do with the Conservative Party as a whole? It is about Boris . Personally I am not in favour of boycotts of the nature advocated in this piece but I agree 100% with Charles Lawley’s assessment of this man and his utter unsuitability ever to be leader of the Conservative Party let alone Prime Minister. There are distinct parallels with Donald Trump. It looks as if the growing alienation of the public from politics tends to engender a shrug of the shoulders and comments like “Who cares? He might shake things up a bit and he’d be good fun.” Risky stuff in this increasingly dangerous world.

  • peter tyzack 17th Nov '15 - 11:26am

    It is as much for the Tory members(and their backers) to decide who their next Leader should be as it is for the Labour Party to choose theirs.. the Leader is a reflection of the Party (or their sponsors)

  • Paul Kennedy 17th Nov '15 - 1:21pm

    Also reminiscent of the Australian ‘Joh for PM’ campaign by maverick Queensland politician Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson:

  • The Johnson biography of Churchill is not only a bit of self puffing in the hope we’ll all say Boris is a reincarnated version of WSC – it’s also thoroughly bad self justifying history written through rose tinted spectacles .

    Barely one page out of over four hundred mentions female suffrage – and that in a superficial way. No mention of the horrors of force feeding (Emily Davidson was force fed 49 time) – nor any serious look at Churchill’s view on eugenics. He spoke of the need to introduce compulsory labour camps for “mental defectives” in the House of Commons in February 1911 and sent a memo to Asquith demanding sterilisation of ‘;weak and feeble minded people’ in 1912.

    Time to forget the over glorified Winston….. and for that matter the pseudo intellectual Boris.

    @ expats : “Boris is a ‘thickie’ who has worked out that pretending to be a ‘smartie pretending to be a thickie’ is the key to success”……… couldn’t agree more…. but he’s a dangerous man who may well follow Cameron.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Nov '15 - 10:47am

    In the run-up to the elections for London Mayor and Assembly David Cameron will face the problem of what to do with Boris. Being a ‘political member’ of the Cabinet will not be enough for Boris’ ambitions. A cabinet reshuffle is a possibility. so, promote his brother? Send Boris on a tour of places to apologise, starting with Liverpool? Or, take a leaf out of Yes Minister and make him Ambassador to Israel?
    Sir Winston Churchill was a soldier with great personal courage.

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