Although Arthur Balfour and Winston Churchill, both Tories, famously supported Zionism, Britain’s Conservative party has a long history of chilly relations with the Jewish state; only in recent years has it become decidedly more pro-Israel than its rivals. Alan Mendoza traces the gradual change in British Conservatives’ attitudes:
[T]he explanation for the transformation of the Conservatives . . . can be linked to Prime Minister David Cameron’s own evolving views on foreign policy. . . . As early as 2008, when Russia went to war with Georgia, Cameron not only—presciently as it turned out—argued for strong opposition to Russia’s behavior but went as far as to visit Tbilisi in a show of solidarity. . . . When Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons to massacre his own people in August 2013, it was once again Cameron who led calls for a military response, although in this case he was stymied by a reluctant House of Commons. His increased support for Israel can be seen as a corollary of this general assertiveness, particularly in the context of the fallout from the Arab Spring. . . .
Of course, there remain other voices in the Conservative party today. The party’s old “Arabist” wing remains alive and well, led by MPs such as Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir Alan Duncan, and Crispin Blunt. . . . Dissenting voices are still raised in Middle East debates and over Middle East policy. Yet the striking fact is how few these voices are when compared to the past, and how far removed they are from the position of the party’s leadership. . . .
All this does not amount to some illicit “neoconservative” seizure of the Conservative party, as [some journalists have] alleged. . . . Rather it reflects a more mature and reasoned viewpoint on the benefits of alliance with Israel. British MPs and leaders do not support Israel on account of activities of lobby groups or parochial voting concerns but because they have concluded it is in the national interest to do so.