Ery BDS row
During his Churchill memorial lecture at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Mr Johnson massaged his audience like putty, drawing laughs and bursts of applause. He stressed the qualities that Winston Churchill shared with Israel — “daring, audacity, derringdo, and indomitability”.
He added that Mr Churchill “was sometimes wrong, as in the gold standard, abdication crisis and over India”.
Perhaps with one eye on the next day in Ramallah, an ebullient and garrulous Mr Johnson issued a warning about Palestinian rights.
Mr Churchill, Mr Johnson said, had told Jewish audiences they had “the chance to create a land flowing with milk and honey”, but he warned that “every step that you take must therefore be for the moral and material benefit of all Palestinians”.
“I think today we have to admit that the present situation does not entirely accord with that Churchillian vision — not yet,” Mr Johnson said.
The speech ended a day that started with a sombre visit to Yad Vashem, and included a raucous visit to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market; fish-wrangling and polenta-whisking with chef Assaf Granit, of Soho’s Palomar; and a brief pause at a muddy football pitch for a match with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Arab and Jewish 10-year-old boys signed up to a coexistence scheme sponsored by the British Embassy.
The tour’s stated purpose had been trade. For Israel, the mission was a clear success. For the Palestinians, it was a missed opportunity.