British Prime Minister Theresa May criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday for his harsh speech against the Israeli government and Israeli settlements at the State Department on Wednesday.
The rebuke against Kerry, and the Obama administration, is unusual — not only because of the close relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, but also because Britain has been more critical of Israel than the U.S., dating back to its pro-Arab stance in the mid-20th century.
The UK Telegraph reports:
Mrs May does “not believe that it is appropriate” for Mr Kerry to attack the make-up of the democratically elected Israeli government, the [Prime Minister’s] spokesman said.
“We do not… believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex,” Mrs May’s spokesman said.
“And we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. The Government believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community.”
The spokesman added: “The British Government continues to believe that the only way to a lasting peace in the Middle East is through a two-state solution. We continue to believe that the construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal.”
Britain joined the U.S. in voting for UN Security Council Resolution 2334 last week, which declared Israel’s entire presence in the West Bank — including the Old City of Jerusalem, where Jews have lived for millennia — illegal.
Still, May’s rebuke to Kerry is a sign that not everyone in the democratic world is willing to be dragged into a diplomatic fight with the only stable democracy in the Middle East, which is threatened by Iran, the Islamic State, Hezbollah, and Hamas.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.