David Cameron returned from the first part of his summer holiday today and was interviewed on Radio Five. He used the opportunity to talk about the A-list and to give strong backing to William Hague’s recent criticisms of Israel:
"Elements of the Israeli response were disproportionate and I think it was right to say that and I think the prime minister should have said that. I don’t think it should be seen as an unfair criticism of Israel. It is just a statement of the fact. Anyone who saw those pictures of the results of the terrible bombing of Qana couldn’t, I think, come to any other conclusion than that some elements of the Israeli response were disproportionate. Britain is a friend of Israel, yes, and a friend of the US, but in both cases, we should be candid friends and we shouldn’t be scared of saying to our friends when we think they are making mistakes or doing the wrong thing. We should be clear and we should say so."
Once again David Cameron finds him out-of-step with leaders of the Anglosphere. The pro-Israeli positions of Tony Blair and George W Bush are well known. Friday’s New York Sun noted that Australia and Canada were also solidly on Israel’s side:
"The European Union may refuse to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. But when Mr. Howard was asked whether he planned to take Hezbollah off his government’s terrorist list, he replied, "No chance, full stop. No chance at all." The Australian reports that "a defiant John Howard has personally told Australian Muslim leaders that the federal Government will not budge on its support for the disarming of Hezbollah" and that the prime minister "rejected demands by the Muslim leaders for the Government to support an immediate and unconditional ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah." A Muslim leader told the paper that Mr. Howard "said in a war like this when the fighters are hiding behind the civilians, then civilians are bound to die."
"In Canada – the El Dorado of America’s liberals – the country’s leaders have been no less stalwart. The foreign affairs minister, Peter MacKay, called Hezbollah a "cancer" and a "terrorist army" and said the Conservative government believes "it is not a difficult choice between a democratic state that was attacked by terrorists and cold-blooded killers." He told the Commons foreign affairs committee that there "cannot be simply a temporary solution to allow for the rearmament of the terrorist body and simply begin the violence again. Prime Minister Harper, in remarks that outraged diplomats at the United Nations, called Israel’s air strikes a "measured" response to Hezbollah’s terrorist attacks. When a Canadian serving as a U.N.peacekeeper was killed, Secretary General Annan immediately accused Israel of deliberately targeting the peacekeeper. Mr. Harper responded that he doubted it was deliberate and instead questioned why the U.N. hadn’t withdrawn their peacekeepers beforehand. When seven Canadians were killed by an Israeli air strike Mr. Harper again refused to blame Israel, saying "We are not going to give in to the temptation of some to single out Israel, which was the victim of the initial attack."