CFI issued a statement on Wednesday night condemning Baroness Warsi’s “careless” and “misguided” comments in an interview where she called for British volunteers for the Israeli army to be treated as foreign fighters and prosecuted on their return to the UK.
In an interview with the Middle East Eye to mark the launch of her book The Enemy Within, former Foreign Office Minister Lady Warsi criticised the difference in treatment between Britons who fought for non-state groups, and British citizens who volunteered to fight for state armies, including Israel.
Lady Warsi claimed there is a “loophole designed to protect Israel” and said that “the only reason we allow the loophole to exist is because of the IDF, because we are not brave enough to say, if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only”.
She said that Britons who went to fight for “non-state actors” were prosecuted upon their return, and felt the same should apply to those who fought for state armies which would include Israel’s IDF.
According to the Middle East Eye, Lady Warsi said that while public debate focused exclusively on demanding loyalty from British Muslims, the same rule should apply to all.
Lady Warsi stated: “You have to belong to something and belonging to Britain for Muslims is a thing we talk about a lot. We don’t talk about it in relation to other communities. We accept that other communities hold all these multiple identities… Let’s just shut down this loophole. If you don’t fight for Britain, you do not fight”.
In a footnote in The Enemy Within on the subject of Britons fighting abroad, Lady Warsi singled out Israel, stating that it had been an issue that came to the fore during the 2014 Gaza conflict.
CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE said in a statement: “To equate the actions of the Israeli Defense Force and non-state actors that can include vile terror groups such as Daesh is misguided. This blasé attitude is both careless and shows a total lack of understanding of the only true democracy in the Middle East”.
Click here to read Lady Warsi’s interview in the Middle East Eye.