Loaded Dice: The Foreign Office and Israel (2007)

ISBN: 0-8264-9056-5
Published: 2007
Publisher: Continuum
Version: Hardback

Professor Lochery examines the truth of the myth that the British Foreign Office has been heavily prejudiced in favour of the Arab cause in the Middle East.

There is an accepted popular myth about recent Middle Eastern history. It is that ever since the days of Lawrence of Arabia, Pasha Glubb and Wilfred Thesiger, the British Foreign Office has been heavily prejudiced in favour of the Arab cause in the Middle East and has been consistently anti-Israel and has therefore been uneven in its handling of Middle East affairs. The purpose of Professor Lochery's new book is to examine the truth of this myth. In this compact and very readable account of Middle Eastern politics since the Second World War he focuses mainly on the role of diplomacy. In particular, the relationship between the Foreign Office and the State of Israel is one of the most fascinating untold diplomatic stories of the later twentieth century. One Israeli official once claimed that even apartheid regimes in South Africa were treated better by the British Foreign Office. Since the creation of Israel in May 1948, some twenty one British foreign secretaries have served in twelve distinct governments with varying degrees of success have had to deal with Israel. These include the pre-Suez Arabist Anthony Eden. The low points have been Robin Cook's visit to Israel in 1998 - a classic example of the loathing between Israel and the Foreign Office. Lochery's account is dispassionate and carefully researched. The author is a gentile and no Zionist. But he has written this book because he believes that the truth must be told because the truth matters.

Press Acclaim

“It fills a gap in our knowledge, and fills it well…A well-researched book.“
Oliver Miles, The Guardian (January 2008)

“The author’s survey of more than sixty years of Britain’s and, more specifically, the Foreign Office’s relations with Israel and its Arab neighbours is highly informative and engaging, and I found his observation that today the Foreign Office is not as powerful as it once used to be, to be perceptive and pertinent.”
Muslim News (June 2008)

“Neill Lochery makes good use of Margaret Thatcher’s papers to show that the view that her policy was dictated largely by her pro-Israel and anti-Foreign Office feelings is a travesty. As for feelings, her dislike of terrorists was at least as deep rooted, and the Israeli prime ministers with whom she had to deal, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were both former terrorists with British blood on their hands.”
Times Higher Ed.

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