According to longstanding policy, Britain merely “recognizes Israel’s de-facto authority” over those parts of Jerusalem that have served as its capital since 1948; it regards the rest of the city a “under Israeli military occupation.” The Scottish journalist Stephen Daisley notes the absurdities:
There is a UK embassy in the capital of China, inflicter of coronavirus and mass incarcerator of Uighurs. There is a UK embassy in the capital of Iran, one of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism. There is even a UK embassy in the capital of North Korea, a slave state and the closest thing to hell on earth. In Israel, however, the Foreign Office maintains the fiction that Tel Aviv is the capital and hides away our embassy there because admitting the truth would be too painful for the activist-diplomats of King Charles Street.
Israel, it is worth reminding those diplomats and the prime minister they nominally serve, is a steadfast ally. It sells us plastics and minerals and buys our machinery and vehicles. Just one of its pharmaceutical companies supplies one in seven National Health Service prescriptions. It signed a continuity trade deal with us a year before we left the EU. It trains our police to detect and stop “lone-wolf” Islamist attacks. It furnishes us with vital intelligence. If you don’t remember Hizballah bombing London in 2015, it is because the Mossad tipped off MI5 about a terror cell in northwest London where the [police] went on to find three tons of ammonium nitrate stockpiled. This faithful friend we reward by calling it an occupier in its own capital city.
Daisley believes the Tory prime minister Boris Johnson when he declares himself “a life-long friend, admirer, and supporter of Israel.” What then, is the reason Johnson’s policies remain indistinguishable from those the UN Human Rights Council? Most likely
the Foreign Office, the world’s leading exporter of certainty and paternalism, has defeated another prime minister who would like to have his own foreign policy but doesn’t have the time or energy to challenge [its] rule.