(JTA) — A British lawmaker came under fire for suggesting the country’s Jewish ambassador to Israel is biased because of his religion.
Paul Flynn, a Labour parliamentarian, claimed last week that Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, "was serving the interests of the Israeli government," The Associated Press reported.
"I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories, but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran, in the service," said Flynn, who has served in the House of Commons since 1987 and represents the Welsh district of Newport West.
Challenged to defend his comments by Britian’s leading Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, Flynn said that the ambassador to Israel should be "someone with roots in the U.K. [who] can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty."
Flynn’s comments were widely condemned by British officials, including the Foreign Office and parliamentarians from across the poliitcal spectrum, the Jewish Chronicle reported. Flynn denied the comments were anti-Semitic.