Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP has been announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party, after winning a leadership race against Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP.
He is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister tomorrow following a final Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament by Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP.
Mr Johnson has a long history of supporting Israel and the Jewish community, from his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London, through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary in both the landmark Balfour Declaration celebrations and the first-ever official Royal visit to Israel. He has said that he considers himself to be a “passionate Zionist”.
In a letter to CFI supporters this month, Boris Johnson declared his “deep admiration for CFl”, stating that “our relationship with Israel makes us Brits safer and more prosperous”. He said: “From the record bilateral trade and close cooperation of our security services to Israeli medical equipment and software used daily by Brits, we are better off standing shoulder to shoulder”.
He emphasised his “fundamental belief” that “the world is safer with the British-Israeli alliance intact and empowered”. Reflecting on his recent term as Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson said that without his input, last year’s unprecedented Royal visit to Israel “would have been different or potentially not undertaken at all”.
Mr Johnson said that as Mayor of London, he “refused to bend to calls for boycott on Israeli goods”, assuring CFI supporters that he will “continue to refuse to bend to the whims of racists or antisemites”. He pledged to be a “champion for Jews in Britain and around the world”.
Click here to read Mr Johnson’s letter in full.
The letter followed CFI’s husting events with both of the leadership contenders over the last month. Addressing CFI supporters, Mr Johnson said he was “very proud” to have been asked to lead the Balfour Declaration Centenary celebrations in 2017 as Foreign Secretary, which he said was a “fantastic moment for our country and Israel”.
Mr Johnson affirmed his support for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament, commending CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Lords, Rt Hon Lord Pickles, for his work as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues. He expressed his “profound” opposition to the “absolutely absurd” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which “disadvantage the very people that the proponents of BDS purport to want to help”.
In an interview with the Jewish News, Mr Johnson described himself as a “passionate Zionist” and Israel as “great country” that “I love”.
He said that he was proud as Mayor of London to lead “the first ever London-Israel trade mission”, adding “I’m proud that the UK is now Israel’s biggest trading partner in Europe and we saw huge investments both ways, partly actually as a result of that trip”.
Mr Johnson strongly condemned the Palestinian policy of offering salaries to terrorists: “I think it’s ludicrous that there should be any kind of financial incentive or compensation for terrorist activities”.
On Iran, the former Foreign Secretary branded Iranian actions “madness” and urged them “not to take any further steps that would break the terms of the agreement”.