Amb: UK public unaware of Israeli problems

May 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland, May 6 (UPI) -- The Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom said the British public, unlike the British government, is misinformed about Israel's enormous challenges.

Ambassador Ron Prosor said Israel is being "delegitimized and demonized" by members of the public, media, and universities, which could amount to a suppression of balanced discussion on the Middle East situation, the Times of London reported Thursday.

"We are the only democracy in (the Middle East) and the challenges we have against us are enormous. People are not aware of that -- or not enough aware of that," Prosor said.

"I think governments are more aware of the challenges -- and the relations between governments are very, very strong -- but I am afraid because there is a gap between the government and the public opinion this will … go against Israel in the long term," he said.

Speaking prior to a lecture and question and answer session sponsored by the International Politics Association of the University of St Andrews, Prosor praised British-Israeli economic and scientific relations, and said that while he welcomed the upcoming Israeli-Arab indirect discussions, he believes them to be an unnecessary preliminary to direct talks.

A small band of protesters assembled outside the building where Prosor was due to speak.

But Brandon Soeiro, the president of the university's International Politics Association, said: "The point of our society is to provide a platform for all speakers and provide insight to all the most pressing geopolitical questions of the day. If we are not willing to engage in reasoned debate with reasonable people in a reasoned forum, then there can really be no hope for peace," said

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