The Israeli Lobby’s Influence on Boris Johnson’s Government: A Stain on the UK’s Global Reputation

The close ties between the Boris Johnson government and Israeli lobbying groups have raised questions about the UK’s commitment to international law and justice, particularly concerning allegations of war crimes in the Palestinian Territories. In 2021, Ex Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a letter to the pro-Israel lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) affirming his government’s opposition to an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian Territories. He described it as a “partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK.”

While Johnson emphasized his respect for the independence of the ICC, it appears this sentiment does not extend to investigations involving Israel. This stance implies that Israel may be perceived as being above the law, and its actions in the occupied Palestinian Territories seem to enjoy a level of impunity.

In response to the Prime Minister’s letter, the Palestinian Consulate in London expressed its concerns, stating that it marked a low point in UK-Palestine relations and undermined the UK’s credibility on the international stage. The letter was seen as a contradiction of international law and British policy, subverting the rules-based global order and hindering efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in Palestine.

This situation underscores the influential role of the pro-Israel lobbying group, the CFI, in steering the UK government away from upholding international and human rights law, seemingly in favor of protecting Israel. A 2009 documentary revealed that around 80% of Conservative Party MPs in the UK are members of the CFI. This alignment has raised concerns, with some likening it to a form of espionage and criticizing British political leaders for allowing their democratic institutions to be influenced by a foreign power.

Boris Johnson’s opposition to an ICC investigation coincides with a court case involving Labour Activists for Justice, claiming that pro-Israel groups deliberately associated anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel’s policies to damage the Labour Party’s prospects in the 2019 General Election. This not only has political implications but also negative consequences for the Palestinian people, who have faced seven decades of Israeli military occupation and a system of apartheid, as documented by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

It is essential to note that the ICC has pledged to investigate all allegations of war crimes, including those attributed to Hamas. However, the Israeli Government has actively lobbied its allies to block and sanction ICC officials. Meanwhile, reports from UN human rights experts and Human Rights Watch have highlighted various violations during Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including unlawful killings, forced displacement, abusive detention, and the expansion of settlements.

The close ties between pro-Israel lobbying groups and the Johnson government have raised questions about justice and democracy for the Palestinian people and have cast a shadow on the UK’s reputation. This situation underscores the need for an urgent overhaul of the political lobbying system in the UK, a scandal that currently engulfs the country.

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