British Prime Minister Liz Truss is facing a smear campaign by the Palestinians because she dared to publicly state her support for Israel. Truss is also under attack because she talked about the possibility of moving the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The campaign against the British PM is reminiscent of the slander the Palestinians used to direct against some of US President Donald Trump's senior advisers and representatives, including Ambassador David Friedman, Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner. Like Truss, the Trump administration officials were targeted because of their support for Israel.
Palestinian leaders have demonstrated over the years that they do not hesitate to use slurs and derogatory remarks against any Western official who dares to voice support for Israel or does not share their hatred of Israel. For these leaders, anyone who articulates support for Israel is a "racist" and "extremist."
The Palestinian attacks on pro-Israel Westerners aims to intimidate and bully them and dissuade others from expressing similar views. The Palestinian message to these Westerners: "If you side with Israel, you are hateful and racist Zionists" – meaning , "If you are not a Jew, you might as well be: you are just as horrible as one."
In 2018, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas described then US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (who is Jewish) as a "son of a dog." In another instance, Abbas expressed hope that God would "destroy" Friedman's house.
Palestinian columnists affiliated with Abbas often referred to Friedman as a "racist Zionist" and a "fascist settler."
Similarly, Trump's two (Jewish) senior advisers, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, were also denounced by the Palestinians as "extremist Zionists" and "spokesmen for the Israeli government."
"Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner and David Friedman are nothing but a bunch of extremist Zionists carrying out the agenda of [former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu," said Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian presidential candidate in 2019.
Nikki Haley, who is not Jewish and served as US Ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration, was regularly condemned by the Palestinians for supporting Israel. The PLO's Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terror group known for hijacking aircraft and carrying out countless terrorist attacks against Israel, described Haley as being "more Zionist than [Theodor] Herzl," the Austro-Hungarian Jewish political activist who was the father of modern political Zionism.
Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told a Conservative Friends of Israel audience that she is a "huge Zionist and huge supporter of Israel" and once again pledged that she would "take the UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength."
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference event in Birmingham, she raised serious concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Believe me, the UK will never allow – together with our allies – Iran to get a nuclear weapon," she said.
"In this world – where we are facing threats from authoritarian regimes who don't believe in freedom and democracy – two free democracies, the UK and Israel, need to stand shoulder to shoulder and we will be even closer in the future."
Earlier, Truss was quoted as saying that she was considering relocating the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Unsurprisingly, the British PM's statements in support of Israel have turned her into the new enemy of the Palestinians.
"Is Liz Truss an agent of the Israeli Mossad who was implanted in the Conservative Party?" asked veteran Palestinian journalist Nasser Lahham. "Is she infected with the Zionism virus?"
Lahham, who is closely associated with the Palestinian Authority leadership, denounced the British prime minister as "ignorant, petty and a fool." He also urged the Palestinian leadership to declare Truss as persona non grata.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), another PLO faction, condemned Truss for "symbolizing the British colonial mentality. Wissam Zagbar, a senior DFLP official, said:
"We are not surprised by Truss's statements because Britain still refuses to admit its responsibility for the great historical sin it committed through the Balfour Declaration."
Former PA official Hassan Asfour also launched a scathing attack on the British prime minister, dubbing her a "racist Zionist" and telling her: "Screw you!"
The Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist group, for its part, condemned Truss for her "total bias" in favor of Israel and called on the Palestinians to continue the fight "until the end of the Zionist occupation from all Palestinian soil," a euphemism for the elimination of Israel.
The defamation campaign against the British PM is yet another sign of the ongoing radicalization of Palestinians not only against Israel, but anyone who dares to say a good word about Israel. This radicalization is the result of the massive campaign by Palestinian officials and media outlets to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews.
The campaign coincides with the Palestinian leaders' continued talk about their commitment to the so-called two-state solution. Last week, senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh, a leading candidate to succeed the 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, met in Washington with a number of Biden administration officials, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and other senior officials.
"We discussed the latest developments and the need to protect and preserve the two-state solution," said al-Sheikh after the meeting. "[We discussed] launching a political horizon and stopping all unilateral measures that destroy this solution."
If the Palestinian leaders are so committed to the "two-state solution," they should cease and desist from their lethal incitement against Israel. This campaign is encouraging young Palestinians to launch more terrorist attacks against Israelis.
It is this campaign of hate that is the real obstacle for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For many years, the Western countries that fund the Palestinians have utterly ignored Palestinian incitement against Israel.
Now, as is evident from the attacks on the British prime minister, Western leaders are themselves becoming victims of the Palestinians' smear campaigns. This is what happens when Western governments lavish untold millions of dollars on the Palestinians without requiring accountability and without demanding an end to the venomous Palestinian rhetoric against Israel and Jews.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.