Speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Lord Polak firstly welcomed the Government’s commitment to ban public bodies from imposing their own boycott, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries. He highlighted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had referred to the “nauseating frequency” where Israel is singled out.
Lord Polak in his speech detailed the scale of anti-Israel bias at the UN, stating: “While we were engaged in a general election, the General Assembly of the United Nations was in session passing resolutions on hot spots around the globe, calling out countries that needed calling out. There was one resolution on North Korea, one on Syria, one on Iran, two on Russia. There were no resolutions, my Lords, on China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. But, my Lords, there were no less than 18 resolutions on Israel. This is totally unacceptable and, what’s more, the UK is far too often voting for these resolutions”.
He continued: “I have no problem with legitimate criticism where it is due, but this obsession with Israel needs to be addressed. Israel is being singled out, and to borrow a phrase, with nauseating frequency, and we are joining in. This singling out of the Jewish state is wrong, unjustified and in my opinion, plays a role in the rise and rise of antisemitism. Whether it manifests itself in Monsey in the United States or just down the road in South Hampstead, it arises, and as we have seen in the Labour Party, when there is a failure of leadership on the grandest scale”.
Lord Polak said that a recent anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN General Assembly “totally ignored terror attacks against Israeli civilians in Israel… negated the deadly attacks in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, and it also sought to strip Israel of its inherent right to self-defence by classifying every defensive measure as a violation of international law”. He said: “In addition, it referred to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem only by its Islamic name, Haram al-Sharif. And I ask, what did we do? Well, we voted for the resolution, whereas our allies and friends in Canada, Australia and the US had the courage to vote against”.
Lord Polak also raised the issue of Palestinian prisoner salary payments. He stated: “In contradiction of its assurances to the international community, the Palestinian Authority pays monthly salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families. In 2018, the Palestinian Authority paid £260 million, 7% of its annual budget, on salaries to killers and murderers”.
The CFI Honorary President said that in November 2019, the Netherlands became the first European country to discontinue direct aid payment to the PA due to its “terror reward policy”. He called on the Government to look carefully at this.
Lord Polak underlined: “We must find a method where aid payments serve the recipients who need our support in the Palestinian society and at the same time serve the interests of the British taxpayer”.
Click here to read the speech in full.