On the 23rd of January, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry wrote a letter to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on recent confrontations between Iran and Israel in Syria.

Here is a link to the letter: https://twitter.com/EmilyThornberry/status/1088498463875256320 

It is an absurd letter, urging an arms embargo on Israel if it engages in ‘escalating acts of aggression’ against Iran. Thornberry describes “heavy Israeli bombardment of Iranian installations around Damascus on Monday”, “reportedly in retaliation for Iran’s firing of a surface-to-surface missile into the Golan Heights”.

This "reported retaliation" came in response to Iran firing a medium range missile at a ski resort,  with mass casualties only avoided because of Israel’s missile defence system. The Israeli response was entirely legitimate self-defence.

Thornberry then mentions ‘Iranian installations around Damascus’ – Is there no condemnation of what Iran are doing there? Should they not be asked to leave Syria?

She then goes on to condemn, seemingly equally, the rhetoric on both sides. Let’s compare: the Iranian rhetoric (moderate by their standards) talks of “confronting the Zionist regime and eliminating it from the earth”. The Israeli rhetoric simply speaks of “an open confrontation with Iran”.

The shadow foreign secretary fails to seriously consider the grave threat that the Iranian presence in Syria poses to Israel – Iran uses Syria as a base to attack Israel and as a supply route to give its proxy force Hezbollah advanced weapons and missiles.

Thornberry calls on the Foreign Secretary to press Israel to act with “restraint and proportionality”. Israel IS acting with restraint and proportionality, to a genuine and serious threat coming from the Iranian presence in Syria.

Remarkably, Thornberry urges the UK to punish Israel if it continues in acts of aggression (self-defence) against Iran, but for the UK to seemingly only verbally reprimand Iran for its dangerous actions.

The arms embargo that Thornberry calls for in the letter in the event of Israel continuing to defend itself will interfere with UK exports of components of kit that is purely defensive and saves civilian lives.