Newly instated British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed the Jewish son of Holocaust refugees and a critic of Israel to be foreign secretary.
Brown’s decision to replace Margaret Beckett with David Miliband came just weeks after Beckett’s first visit to Israel in the post, and occurred despite her repeated expressions of interest in continuing in the role.
Miliband previously served under Tony Blair as Britain’s environment secretary. Last summer, he crossed Blair by criticizing Israel during the war against Hezbollah .
Miliband is the son of Polish Jews who immigrated to England to escape the Holocaust. His father, Ralph Miliband, arrived in England from Poland via Belgium on one of the last ships across the Channel in 1940, and became a leading Marxist writer.
At 41, David Miliband is the second youngest foreign secretary in British history.
Beckett made her first official visit to Israel earlier this month. After a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Beckett told reporters: “If we proceed carefully, there exists at the moment a possibility to push the peace process forward.”
In 2006, during the Hezbollah war, Beckett made a formal complaint to the United States over its use of an airport in Scotland for transporting bombs to Israel.