The UK Must Not Betray Israel with an Arms Embargo

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is pushing a dangerously naive agenda by calling for an arms embargo on Israel. This hardened leftist anti-war group, a partner of the disgraced Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is fixated on UK arms sales to Israel, a liberal democracy, while ignoring the real threats posed by arms deals from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran to terrorist organisations and despotic regimes.

Let’s be clear: the UK supplies just 1% of Israel’s weapons. In 2022, the value of export licences for military goods from the UK to Israel totalled a mere £42 million. Israel doesn’t rely on these weapons; it has a robust domestic military industry and diversified supply chains. The IDF is far from being dependent on UK arms.

The crux of the matter is what an embargo represents—a betrayal of a fellow liberal democratic state. Israel is in an existential fight against Islamist terrorists on multiple fronts. If the UK ceases to supply arms to Israel, it effectively sides with the terrorists, saying, “We want Israel to lose.” If the UK truly cares about Gazan civilians, it should support Israel’s efforts to swiftly neutralise Hamas and end the conflict.

An arms embargo against Israel is not just about withholding military aid; it’s about undermining a nation fighting for survival. It’s a disgraceful move that would embolden Islamist terrorist regimes.

In December 2023, Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch wisely decided not to suspend existing licences or halt new ones despite pressure from CAAT. The NJA hopes that the next government retains this principled position. This group’s mission to “end the international arms trade” is absurd, failing to distinguish between defensive systems like Iron Dome and offensive weaponry. Their calls for shifting from arms to renewable energy and “rethinking security” are laughably disconnected from reality.

Imposing an arms embargo on Israel would be a strategic and moral blunder. The UK must stand firm with Israel, recognising the importance of supporting a fellow democracy in its fight for survival.

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