Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed his “unbreakable” support for Israel in a speech to 1,200 patrons at Jewish Care’s annual dinner last night, where he emphasised: “I’m not just a great friend of the Jewish Community here in Britain – I am also a great friend of Israel”.
Receiving a standing ovation from the packed room, Prime Minister Cameron said that Israel “is one of the most remarkable stories of the modern, democratic world”.
The Prime Minister praised the work of Jewish Care and spoke on a number of issues, including anti-Semitism, the security of the Jewish community, Israel and its right to defend itself, and the upcoming EU referendum.
He underlined his commitment to the Jewish State: “I will never stand by when people talk of boycotting Israel, or when Israel is under attack from rockets or terror tunnels. Because with me you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security is non-negotiable”.
Celebrating Israel as “the homeland of the Jewish people”, the Prime Minister said: “I will never forget taking that helicopter ride in the skies above the homeland of the Jewish people. On the left, the Mediterranean…on the right, the River Jordan. I saw with my own eyes the vulnerability of this narrow strip of land. But I also marvelled at what the Israelis have built there. From desert to city, from empty space to enterprise, or as Shimon Peres once said: ‘from oranges to Apple’. It is one of the most remarkable stories of the modern, democratic world”.
The Prime Minister hailed Israel’s democracy and spoke of his support for Israel’s right to defend itself: “The point is this: Israel is the democracy in the Middle East. And as I said in the Knesset, I will always stand up for the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens, a right and obligation enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality”.
The Prime Minister pledged to keep the UK Jewish community secure and drive anti-Semitism out of the UK: “I care passionately about your security. We have seen shocking anti-Semitic attacks in France, Denmark, Belgium and other parts of mainland Europe. And sadly we’ve seen growing examples of anti-Semitism here at home. I hate it that this scourge has returned to our world – and specifically to our country. I promise that wherever we see anti-Semitism, from politicians who should know better…to abusive graffiti daubed on Synagogues and homes – I will do everything I can to drive it out of our country. As long as I am Prime Minister, you’ve got that extra £10 million pounds I’ve promised CST every year for as long as necessary – it’s guaranteed”.
Speaking about the Holocaust education for future generations, the Prime Minister said: “We’re not just going to tackle the consequences of the security threats we face. We’re going to tackle the causes too. And that means teaching our children the fight hatred and prejudice in all its forms. Which is why – because of the Holocaust Commission I set up, we’re going to have a proper national memorial to the Holocaust right next to the mother of all Parliaments. And we’re going to have a world-class learning centre too. Standing proudly to articulate our values to the world, and to ensure that every generation learns the lessons of the darkest hours of humanity”.
At the beginning of his speech, Prime Minister Cameron paid tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered last week in her constituency by a man suspected to have neo-Nazi links. He stated: “where we find hatred, intolerance and division, we should drive them out of our politics and our communities. No community understands better than our Jewish community, the importance of confronting hatred and prejudice in all its forms”.