Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, said yesterday that those who care about Israel, should be concerned about the erosion of international support for the country.
Speaking to Israel’s Channel 10 news yesterday evening, Gould said, “Israelis might wake up in 10 years time and find out that suddenly the international community has changed, and that patience for continuing the status quo has reduced.”
“Support for Israel is starting to erode and that’s not about these people on the fringe who are shouting loudly and calling for boycotts and all the rest of it. The interesting category are those members of parliament in the middle, and in that group I see a shift.”
“The problem is not hasbara. The center ground, the majority, the British public may not be expert but they are not stupid and they see a stream of announcement about new building in settlements, they read stories about what’s going on in the West Bank, they read about restrictions in Gaza. The substance of what’s going wrong is really what’s driving this,” he said.
He also said that there is “growing concern” in the UK over the lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians.
When asked about the BBC Olympics website naming Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on its Olympics website, he said it would be wrong for him “to try and either explain their actions, for that you should speak to the BBC” but added that “Israel is now seen as the Goliath and it’s the Palestinians who are seen as the David.”
Last month, Israel’s Prime Minister’s office was informed that Israel’s page on the BBC’s Olympic website included no reference to the country’s capital city, but the page devoted to Palestine on the site listed East Jerusalem as its capital city.
After a letter of complaint from Netanyahu’s office, the BBC altered Israel’s page on the website such that under the heading “Seat of government,” the following sentence appears: “Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”