It seems grimly apt that David Cameron should return to frontline politics at a time when a genocide is being carried out in Gaza.
Cameron joins a select group of Britons who became foreign secretary after being prime minister. Among the others in the “club” are Arthur James Balfour, who is synonymous with his 1917 declaration backing the Zionist colonization project in Palestine.
In one of the final speeches he gave as prime minister, Cameron described Britain as “Israel’s greatest friend.”
During a June 2016 event held by the organization Jewish Care, Cameron argued that it was important Britain should remain in the European Union so that it could fight Israel’s corner.
Having been on the losing side in the Brexit referendum (which he had called), Cameron resigned within days of making that comment.
If Cameron was genuinely worried about Israel losing an ally within the EU, he did not need to be. The Brussels bureaucracy has repeatedly stressed its full support for the current attack on Gaza.
And since the Brexit vote, Britain’s own relationship with Israel has been strengthened.
Britain now has a formal cooperation agreement – the details of which have been kept secret – with Israel’s military.
A comprehensive trade deal between Britain and Israel is under negotiation. And the Royal Air Force has made a series of flights to Israel – the precise purpose of which has not been disclosed – following the Hamas-led operation on 7 October.
Getting away with mass murder
As prime minister, Cameron did not always please Israel. Twice in 2010, he referred to Gaza as a “prison camp.”
Yet when Israel launched an all-out attack on Gaza four years later, the conditions in the prison camp were no longer causing him any anxiety.
Cameron won kudos from pro-Israel advocates for the unconditional backing he offered Benjamin Netanyahu, then as now Israel’s prime minister. Then – as now – Britain portrayed Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinian civilians as an act of self-defense.
Although he has not been a regular fixture on TV screens for a few years, Cameron has certainly not disappeared. Rather, he has been in demand as a lobbyist.
Among the gigs he has taken was one as a university lecturer in the United Arab Emirates. Cameron enjoyed a cozy relationship with that state as prime minister and it is a safe bet that he has kept abreast with how it has normalized relations with Israel in the recent past.Cameron is not the first person to have pursued a lucrative lobbying career after being a prime minister.
After getting away with illegal invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair got away with being Britain’s most famous conflict of interests.
For what felt like an eon, the post-Downing Street section of Blair’s resumé combined a post as a Middle East “peace envoy” (the term used by British newspapers) with being on the payroll of JP Morgan. It was, needless to say, a pure coincidence that Blair threw his weight behind business deals in Palestine that would benefit corporate clients of that investment bank.
It seems grimly apt, too, that Netanyahu now wants Blair to have a job as some sort of humanitarian aid coordinator for Gaza.
In this topsy-turvy world, throwing a few crumbs to a people starved of food, fuel and water is hailed as unparalleled generosity.If Tony Blair could make a seamless transition from war criminal to peace envoy, then he should have no problem promoting Israel’s cuddly side as it fires on hospitals.