Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed that if re-elected he will “crack down on all varieties of antisemitism and prejudice” and pledged that an inquiry on varying forms of racism would “start before the end of the year and be entirely independent”.
Interviewed by the Jewish News this week, Boris Johnson answered some important questions on Israel.
Mr Johnson went to Israel for the first time when he was 20 to volunteer in a kibbutz and said his stint in the “steamy environment” of washing-up in the kibbutz kitchens had laid the foundations of his love of Israel. Not, he hastened to clarify, that he had embraced the “socialist ideal” of the kibbutz.
In the past Boris has described himself as a “passionate Zionist”, but his involvement in the United Nations resolution just over three years ago that denounced Israel’s settlement policy was called into question. “We were merely echoing Britain’s policy [on settlements],” he insisted. “The best way forward is a two-state solution”.
Addressing a question about how British taxpayers money could be used to fund Palestinian terrorism rather than going to aid needy Palestinians, Mr Johnson said that such payments were “completely wrong: we should not be bankrolling terror.”
If he wins the election, he said, he would insist on “more stringent conditions attached” and a “much closer scrutiny” of money given to the Palestinian administration.
He also said he would not be inclined to follow the Labour pledge of “recognising the state of Palestine”. A Conservative government would not recognise a Palestinian state unless there were more moves towards peace from the Palestinians, he said.
Although it appears in the interview Mr Johnson was not asked about anti-Semitism within the Labour party, earlier this week the prime minister reaffirmed his support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism which the Conservative Party adopted in full in 2016.
“Britain’s Jews will always have my support and that of the Government I lead,” he wrote.
On Friday the prime minister joined Finchley and Golders Green Tory hopeful Mike Freer on the campaign trail, seemingly welcomed by the Jewish community there.
During his visit, Johnson stopped over at Jewish Care’s Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus, where he met tenants including Holocaust survivor Rachel Levy before popping into Grodzinski bakery.
Wearing an apron marked “Get Brexit done,” the PM served customers in the packed bakery after piping icing onto a doughnut.
“We were very pleased to see Boris and to have him here, and I think he really enjoyed trying to ice a doughnut and it went very well with the local people and staff,” bakery manager Eddie Ezekiel told Jewish News.
This morning I made some ‘Get Brexit Done’ donuts at a wonderful bakery in Golders Green, North London. Thank you Grodzinski Bakery & to everyone who stopped by to say hello. pic.twitter.com/Ztrtvtgq4D
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 6, 2019
We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.