David Miliband was subjected to an evening of hostile questions about the Israel-Palestine situation at a public meeting in West London last night.
Unofficially billed as his leadership tour Miliband faced a Stop the War demonstration outside the Church before the meeting began in front of 200 members of the public. The audience was broadly middle class white and as their questions proved very articulate.
After initial parochial domestic political presentations by the local MP and councillor, Milliband spoke about the undoubted domestic achievements of the government before including his Foreign Office brief with a dig at Mugabe and Iran.
Although questions were allowed on any subject what followed was a remarkable 2 hours of approximately 20 questions, 90% of which was about Israel's conduct and all hostile to Miliband's passive support of the Jewish State. Miliband who is adept at ensuring his message suits the audience defensively claimed amongst other things he pushed for a ceasefire in the Security Council to stop Israel's outrage in Gaza and that he supports the Goldstone findings.
However, despite his oratory skills Miliband struggled on a question from the West London Palestine Solidarity Council about changes to legislation to support Israeli war Criminals like Livni and pleaded with the audience not to shout "liar". With regard to Mossad, British passports and Dubai he claimed this was an "outrage" and promised to pursue with Lieberman Israel's Foreign Minister on Monday. In response to a question on why Hamas is excluded from talks Miliband trotted out the usual line that the Arab League have appointed Egypt to only negotiate with Hamas.
On last night's performance one wonders why we don't just hand over the keys of the Foreign Office to Israel as we seemed to be listening to the Israeli rather than British Foreign Secretary.