I've started a new regular column in the Forward, called 'Across the Pond'. My first piece appears this week, and addresses the question of why the Brits seemed to react so mildly to the Dubai passport forgeries:
It has become conventional wisdom that Israel cannot get a fair hearing in Britain. There is strong hostility toward Israel in British academia and trade unions. There have been mounting efforts by pro-Palestinian activists to push boycotts, divestment and sanctions efforts against the Jewish state. And British public opinion as a whole reacted strongly against last winter’s Israeli military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
Against this backdrop, the revelation that the killers of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai had used forged British passports (as well as fake passports from several other countries) was widely expected to send British-Israeli relations into a tailspin. If the killers were indeed Mossad operatives, commentators across the political spectrum argued, Britain would be within its rights to recall its ambassador and to take other punitive diplomatic measures against Israel.
Instead, Britain reacted with remarkable restraint. Indeed, rather than exposing the fault lines of the Anglo-Israeli relationship, the Dubai issue actually shows just how sympathetic the current Labour government is to the Jewish state and its war on terror, to an extent rarely appreciated even by Britain’s Jewish community.
Read the rest here.