Foreign Office efforts to suppress a note about Israel on a draft of the Iraq dossier have proved revealing
By Chris Ames
"It's lose, lose, lose for the Foreign Office as the Guardian publishes the secret evidence of the Foreign Office witness who tried, successfully at first, to stop us finding out that before the war someone in government compared Israel to Iraq in its "brazen" pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and defiance of the UN.
It could hardly have turned out much worse for the hapless FCO. First, the information tribunal shot its fox by pointing out that it could publish the John Williams draft of the dossier without the marginal note that makes this comparison. Then it was careless enough to let the evidence into the public domain, providing a readymade story. And, of course, it has been caught trying to conceal something, which just adds to the story......
As the Guardian makes clear, with its comprehensive coverage, the significance of the story in relation to Israel has many interesting layers. It is clear that, inside the Foreign Office, people were aware of the possible charge of hypocrisy in going for Iraq while ignoring Israel's weapons of mass destruction and its defiance of the UN. It is also clear that the Foreign Office is very sensitive to the charge that it is anti-Israel, and that Israel is able to exploit this.
The great irony is that whoever wrote the comment was aware that the claim that Iraq was unique provided a hostage to fortune, inviting people to talk about Israel. Neil Wigan's evidence was the greatest hostage to fortune you can imagine. People are certainly talking about Israel now."