Since Boris Johnson’s resignation, the British Conservative party has been embroiled in a fierce competition among those who would replace him. Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak—the more centrist of the two frontrunners—was asked if he would move the UK’s embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He replied that the latter is indeed “the undisputed capital” of the Jewish state, although he hedged a bit about the placement of the embassy. Stephen Daisley notes that this is one of the few areas where Sunak is in agreement with his more rightwing rival, Liz Truss:
A Prime Minister Sunak who tried to recognize Jerusalem or move our embassy there would face the same obstacles as a Prime Minister Truss. The parliamentary opposition and some malcontents on the Tory benches would be highly vocal. The media would be hysterical, forecasting violence and danger to British personnel and interests. Foreign Office civil servants and diplomats would do their utmost to scupper it.
This is only more reason to press on and make the policy change. A government that allows civil servants and BBC producers to determine its foreign policy is no government at all. As for the dire warnings that can be expected, the United States, Russia, Australia, Guatemala, Honduras, Taiwan, Kosovo, and Nauru all recognize Jerusalem, wholly or in part, as Israel’s capital and the sky has yet to fall in.
Whatever happens, Conservative thinking about the Middle East has shifted in a measurably pro-Israel direction. . . . Support for Israel in the Conservative party was widespread before this leadership contest. In its wake, being pro-Israel might become a new litmus test for those aspiring to lead the party in the future.