UK PM Cameron to Israel’s Knesset: ‘We’ll be With You Every Step of the Way’
by Joshua Levitt
British Prime Minister David Cameron told Israel’s Knesset, in Jerusalem, that Britain will stand by Israel.
“So as I stand here with you and look to the future, my message to you today is simply this: we’ll be with you every step of the way. Anachnu Beyachad,” we are with you, he told the Knesset.
Cameron said, “Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians,” referring to activists supporting BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.
Cameron said, that Israel ” is founded in the spirit and strength of your people. It is founded in international law. It is founded in the resolve of all of your allies to protect an international system that was forged in our darkest days, to put right historic wrongs. It is founded in the achievements of your economy and your democracy – a country pledged to be fair and equal to all its citizens whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian Arab or Druze.”
“It is your destiny. Delegitimising the State of Israel is wrong,” Cameron said. “It’s abhorrent.”
“From the early pioneers, the men and women of the Palestine Exploration Fund, who saw the Jewish history in this land and the possibilities for the future to the Balfour Declaration – the moment when the State of Israel went from a dream to a plan Britain has played a proud and vital role in helping to secure Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.”
“So let me say to you very clearly: with me, you have a British Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock solid,” he said.
The British prime minister also spoke of his connection to Israel: “What I have always understood is the extraordinary journey of the Jewish people. Thousands of years of history in this holy land. Thousands of years of persecution. And even today, some people despicably questioning your right to exist. My Jewish ancestry is relatively limited but I do feel just some sense of connection. From the lexicon of my great, great grandfather Emile Levita, a Jewish man who came from Germany to Britain 150 years ago to the story of my forefather Elijah Levita who wrote what is thought to have been the first ever Yiddish novel.”
He recognized Israel’s international rights to defend itself against terror attacks: “I understand the concern of Israelis who have seen land that Israel has pulled out of, becoming a base for terrorist attacks. And I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens. A right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality, and in decades of common endeavor between Israel and her allies.”
As for Israel in the world, Cameron said he hoped for the day that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority would open doors for Israel on the international stage, that would mean “an end to the outrageous lectures on human rights that Israel receives at the United Nations from the likes of Iran and North Korea. An end to the ridiculous situation where last year the United Nations General Assembly passed three times as many resolutions on Israel as on Syria, Iran and North Korea put together. No more excuses for the 32 countries in the United Nations who refuse to recognize Israel.”
On Iran, specifically, Cameron said, “I share your deep skepticism and great concern about Iran. I am not starry eyed about the new regime. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world – not just to Israel and with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that is never allowed to happen.”
As part of his visit to Israel, a raft of UK-Israel investments are being announced. Cameron said trade between the two countries “has doubled in a decade and is now worth £5 billion a year to the world leading partnerships between our scientists, academics and hi-tech specialists.”
Other members of his Conservative party in parliament who joined the prime minister in Israel made statements supporting his Knesset speech.
MP James Clappison said, “As Parliamentary Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel I was honored to lead a delegation of my Conservative colleagues to Israel for the PM’s landmark visit to the region. The Prime Minister’s speech once again confirmed that the Anglo-Israel relationship is stronger than ever and in David Cameron Israel has a staunch friend and ally.”
Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said, “It is privilege to be able to join the PM’s visit to Israel to reaffirm our long and close relationship both politically and economically. I was especially pleased to hear that shechita is safe, as confirmed by the Prime Minister.”
Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, said, “I am delighted to be part of our Conservative Prime Minister’s visit to Israel, after raising the issue with him at Prime Minister’s Questions in November 2013. This is an excellent opportunity for the Prime Minister to see the work between the Anglo-Jewish community and the close link between our two countries.”
Lee Scott, MP for Illford North, said, “It is an honor to be on this historic visit with the PM. Hearing his first class supportive speech at the Knesset and his reaffirmation of our support and friendship towards the state and people of Israel and to attend the various ceremonies has been a privilege.”
David Burrowes, MP for Endfield Southgate, said, “I was delighted to join the PM on this historic visit, which comes at such a significant time for Israel and the wider region. The Prime Ministers speech demonstrates the crucial and long-standing friendship between Britain and Israel and the important role that Britain has in supporting the state of Israel.”