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January 30, 2019 3:04 pm

UK Foreign Secretary Calls 1939 White Paper That Limited Jewish Immigration to British Mandate Palestine a ‘Black Moment’ in History

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Henry Nicholls.

Israel’s right to defend itself is “absolutely unconditional,” UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s Annual Parliamentary Reception, Hunt called the controversial 1939 White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine on the eve of World War II a “black moment” in history — marking what was believed the first time a UK foreign secretary has expressed such a sentiment.

Hunt praised Britain’s “very strong deep-rooted friendship” with Israel, based on “a huge historic admiration” for what it has “achieved against all the odds.”

The UK’s top diplomat also vowed that his country would “always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in stamping out antisemitism.”

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Another attendee at the event was Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who also voiced strong support for Israel, asking, “Should we not as a nation always have the deepest and strongest bond with such a democratic nation? I say yes.”

In his own remarks at the gathering, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev extolled the post-Brexit free trade deal reached “in principle” last week by Britain and the Jewish state, saying it would bring “jobs and prosperity for both our countries.”

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