This week, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told a gathering of Jewish leaders from around the world that boycott campaigns against Israel have failed, and that he will “do everything in [his] power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel”.
The Secretary of State also underlined that not only would the UK Government refuse to apologise for the Balfour Declaration, it would “celebrate the centenary with pride”.
On boycotts, he commented: “I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success”.
The Communities Secretary rejected calls from the Palestinian Authority for the UK to apologise for the historic letter, stating: “Someone said we should apologise for the Declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen”. Mr Javid emphasised: “To apologise for the Balfour Declaration would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist”.
Mr Javid made clear: “Trade is booming, tourism is soaring. The media campaign is full of sound and fury, but to the majority of Britain today it signifies nothing”.
He described the rise of antisemitism in the UK as “deeply disturbing”, adding: “Let’s be honest, we are talking about antisemites, however many times they claim they are opposed to Zionism”.
The event, entitled “Balfour, Bias and Boycotts”, took place in Parliament on Monday and was jointly hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the World Jewish Congress and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews. Israeli Ambassador H.E. Mark Regev was among those who attended, joined by a number of cross-party parliamentarians.