Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw reportedly said during a debate in the British parliament that “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control American policy in the Middle East.
The comments were made last week during the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons, according to former Knesset member Einat Wilf.
Wilf was participating in the debate and posted what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page.
Straw said, according to Wilf, that the greatest obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors are the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US, as well as Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel.
Wrote Wilf: “I nearly fell off my rickety British chair today when former UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke at the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons. Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem.
“I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”
Wilf told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Sunday that “It was appalling to listen to Britain’s former foreign secretary. His remarks reflect prejudice of the worst kind.” She added: “We’re used to hearing groundless accusations from Palestinian envoys but I thought British diplomats, including former ones, were still capable of a measure of rational thought.”
Wilf, a member of Knesset from 2010 to 2013 (Labor, and then the breakaway Independence party), said she repeatedly stressed in the debate that the root of the conflict lay in the Palestinian and Arab refusal to accept Israel’s sovereign legitimacy as a Jewish state. “Throughout the debate I reiterated that the origin of the conflict was the Arab and Palestinian unwillingness to accept the Jewish people’s legitimate right to a state of their own, and that as long as that willingness is absent there will be no true solution.”
Straw announced Friday that he would step down as a member of Parliament from the Labor Party at the upcoming 2015 general election. He has served in Parliament continuously since 1979. Straw served as both home secretary and foreign secretary under prime minister Tony Blair, and as justice secretary under prime minister Gordon Brown.
Straw, who has noted that his Blackburn constituency has some 25,000 Muslim residents and 23 mosques, has made anti-Israel comments in the past. In June, on a BBC radio program, he declared that Israel “has no territorial ambitions apart from stealing the land of the Palestinians.” When he was foreign secretary in 2001 he reportedly made comments that appeared to legitimize Palestinian terrorism, prompting then prime minister Ariel Sharon to cancel a meeting with him.