I had to admit that the reaction of William Hague to accusations of the Foreign Office being anti-Israel/pro-Arab brought a wry smile to my face, anyone who regularly reads the newspapers and various blogs can check out various details for themselves in that for some reason or another going back to the days of Lawrence of Arabia the Foreign Office has been relentlessly on the side of the “noble” Arab despite the fact that they are a myth and no such creature exists.
The normally ice-cool William Hague exploded with rage during an angry showdown with Tory MPs who accused him of being part of a ‘bigoted’ Foreign Office plot against Israel.
The Foreign Secretary rounded on his chief accuser, claiming he was a ‘fantasist’ and guilty of ‘claptrap’.
He stormed: ‘It is completely untrue to suggest I have been taken captive by the Foreign Office. I overrule their advice all the time.’
The unprecedented display of anger from Mr Hague, known for his unflappable style, came in a behind-closed-doors Commons confrontation with 30 MPs from the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) group.
He lost his rag when outspoken Tory Douglas Carswell told him he was ‘under the thumb of pro-Arabist’ diplomats in the Foreign Office.
You cannot help wonder if Hague remembered the details of one Rowan Laxton, the high-ranking Foreign Office diplomat arrested for this little tirade…
Stunned staff and gym members allegedly heard him shout: ‘F**king Israelis, f**king Jews’. It is alleged he also said Israeli soldiers should be ‘wiped off the face of the earth’. His rant reportedly continued even after he was approached by other gym users.
Still at his job as head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office and apparently all forgiven, though one suspects the arrest was only to prove such behavior was not to be openly tolerated and still goes on under the radar. As for a history remember the episode of Yes Prime Minister where a Foreign Office diplomat is endlessly anti-Israel? Hacker gets revenge on him by assigning him to Tel Aviv The FCO is notorious for its long history of an anti-Israeli stance, and that show was made about 30 years ago.
Perhaps Hague has also forgotten The current Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service Simon Fraser, who left (or be sacked) his post working for a minister in the last Conservative government after he became romantically involved then married an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was considered to be a terrorist organization at the time and since reinstated by Cameron in 2010.
Those are just two fairly recent examples of diplomats in the FCO whose neutrality is suspect, so you’d think that at least Hague would have expected the criticism from Carswell and been able to keep his cool. Though I rather suspect the outburst was more in the way of a diversion rather than genuine anger in a similar way that adults can react to getting their fingers caught in the cookie jar, attack being the only defense possible owing to the facts.
I suspect though that Hague himself has gone native in the FCO, espousing the EU and anti-Israel sentiments comes naturally to that “institution” and hague now seems to fit in nicely, pity that, he did show some promise earlier in his career.