A high-ranking diplomat at the Foreign Office has been arrested after allegations that he launched a foul-mouthed anti-Semitic tirade.I guess the title ‘diplomat’ is a purely honorary one…
Middle East expert Rowan Laxton, 47, was watching TV reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza as he used an exercise bike in a gym.
Stunned staff and gym members allegedly heard him shout: 'F**king Israelis, f**king Jews'. It is alleged he also said Israeli soldiers should be 'wiped off the face of the earth'.
His rant reportedly continued even after he was approached by other gym users.Well, if poor Carol Thatcher was thrown off her job as a roving reporter for simply mentioning the word ‘gollywog’, what will happen to a high-ranking diplomat who has actually been arrested for racial offences!
After a complaint was made to police, Mr Laxton was arrested for inciting religious hatred through threatening words and behaviour and bailed until late next month.
You’d be surprised….not:
The maximum penalty for inciting religious hatred is a seven-year prison term or a fine or both.Working ‘normally’, eh…?
Mr Laxton, who is still working normally, is head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office, on a salary of around £70,000.
He is responsible for all the UK's diplomacy in that area and for briefing Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is Jewish.Well, it begs the question – did he get the job because he was an anti-semitic loon, or has he become one in the course of it?
Mr Laxton has worked extensively in the Middle East - he married a Muslim woman in 2000 - and has been deputy ambassador to Afghanistan.
The case could not have come at a worse time for the Foreign Office. Next week, Britain is hosting an international summit on combating anti-Semitism, with politicians from 35 countries.Whoops!
A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'It is too early to comment in detail on a matter that is currently the subject of police enquiries. But we take extremely seriously any allegation of inappropriate conduct on the part of our staff and continue to follow developments closely.'Just not seriously enough to suspend him…
When contacted by the Daily Mail, Mr Laxton denied his comments were anti-Jewish but refused to answer when asked if they were anti-Israeli.So we can infer a ‘Yes’ from that…
The Israel page of the Foreign Office website says: 'The Government has a shared responsibility to tackle anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and prejudice'.Vetting their senior staff a little bit better in future would help…