The United Kingdom will soon have a new Prime Minister. Liz Truss, current Foreign Secretary, and Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, are the final two candidates in the race for Number 10. But what have they said about Israel?

We take a look at some of the key issues relating to Israel that the next Prime Minister will face, and recent comments from both candidates from a range of sources. From the Iranian threat to the new Israel-UK trade deal; from opposing Israeli boycotts to the big question of recognising Jerusalem: the next Prime Minister is set to lead the UK at a time of historic importance.



Truss says that she “remain committed to standing up to Iranian hostility and their pursuit of nuclear weapons,”

“I have been clear that progress on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not moving fast enough and I assure you that if the JCPOA collapses, all options are on the table,” Truss stated.


Sunak says, “a new, strengthened nuclear deal that extends the sunset clauses, lengthens the breakout period and curtails Iran’s ballistic missile program. The credible threat of snapback sanctions, which has so far been missing from the negotiations, is the only way we can force Iran to seriously engage with these proposals.

“Iran’s quest for regional hegemony and the threat it poses to Israel concerns me deeply. We cannot allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon and the UK and Israel must enhance our diplomatic, defense and intelligence cooperation to prevent this from happening.”

Sunak said that recent Iranian moves to acquire more enriched uranium and its continued rejection of a new deal to curb its nuclear ambitions meant the clock was at “two minutes to midnight”.

He said: “A nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel and embolden Iran’s web of terrorist groups throughout the region. We urgently need a new, strengthened deal and the credible threat of snapback sanctions is the only way we can force Iran to seriously engage with this.”

Sunak also said proscription of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps must also “be on the table.”



Truss says that she will press for the abolition of Agenda Item 7 in the UN Human Rights Council, a permanent one targeting Israel.

Regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council, Truss says, “there “are too many countries who tried to do Israel down, who try and use the Human Rights Council as a way of levelling, unwarranted criticism at Israel.”

Truss added, ”What I’ve done is I’ve stood up against those countries.

“I’ve occasionally stood up against advice from my own departments, and various claims of Britain would be isolated, and in fact, other countries followed us in what we did.”




Sunak recalled his work as minister for local government to stop municipalities from boycotting Israel. “We must now deliver on our manifesto commitment and bring forward the [BDS] bill to outlaw it in full,” he said.

He said the Israel “apartheid” claim, made prominently in a report by Amnesty International earlier this year, could only make a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict more elusive, because many who endorsed it believed Israel should not exist at all.

“With remarkable frequency it emerges that those who label Israel an apartheid state also deny Israel’s right to exist. It is a claim that stands as an obstacle to peace and the government should be calling it out at the UN and wherever else it is used.

“The apartheid claim is not only factually incorrect but quite frankly offensive. Like any nation, Israel is not perfect — but it is a vibrant multi-ethnic democracy with a free press and the rule of law. It stands as a shining beacon of hope in a region of autocracies and religious extremists.”


Truss says that she will “ensure that we deliver on our proposed Bill to end local councils bringing in BDS policies that target Israel”, adding that BDS action by public bodies “sow needless division” by “going against the stance of this Government”.




Truss says, “As a senior government minister, I have always sought to enhance the relationship between the UK and Israel. As International Trade Secretary, I led a delegation to Israel and met UK-Israeli businesses aboard the UK’s Royal Navy Yacht in Haifa port, demonstrating the deep ties between Israel and the UK including our £5 billion trade relationship.

“As Prime Minister I will continue to work to remove barriers to trade between Israel and the UK and work towards an advanced Free Trade Agreement that supports jobs and drives growth. As Foreign Secretary I signed a new strategic plan with my then counterpart Yair Lapid for the next decade, spanning cyber, tech, trade and defence. This pact will spur technological breakthroughs, which have the potential to change the world, create high-quality jobs in both our countries and provide tools to our security forces. Our unique partnership will already keep us at the forefront of the technological and ensure that the doors of the UK are open to high-growth Israeli tech firms.”



Truss says that it “remains important to me that the public is educated on the dangers of antisemitism and the role it plays in driving anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiment”, adding that the new National Holocaust Memorial will be “crucial” to this.

She has also says, “The strength of the British Jewish community is a shining light in Britain but for too long the Jewish community has been victim of persecution.

“I know many in the Jewish community feel that the bar is too high for bring forward convictions for antisemitism. I have been vigilant in calling out the appalling attacks on the Jewish community, such as the act of terrorism at a synagogue in Texas. I will double down in my determination to stamp out antisemitism and hate around the world. As Prime Minister I will do everything in my power to ensure that those spewing clear Jew hatred will be prosecuted quickly within the full force of the law.


Sunak voiced strong support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, saying he was “proud that the UK was the first country in the world to adopt the IHRA definition, and as Local Government Minister I worked hard to roll out the definition among local councils”. He added: “Good progress has been made by councils, universities and sports clubs and we should be encouraging all other public bodies to adopt it. But adopting IHRA is just the beginning. It needs to be actively applied and there is much more we could be doing in this space.”

He said the IHRA definition was also a “crucial tool” in fighting antisemitism on campus: “Antisemitism is a real blind spot for many student activists who are otherwise committed anti-racists.”

“Good progress has been made rolling out the definition across UK universities. Over 100 UK and Irish universities have adopted the definition, but there is still progress to be made and the Department of Education needs to continue to work with universities to not only adopt the IHRA definition but, crucially, apply it when incidents of antisemitism arise.”

“I have committed to making the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre free to visit in perpetuity and I would like to see this built as soon as possible in Victoria Gardens as a powerful signal of the importance we attach to remembering the Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us all.”



“I share concerns about the conduct of the Palestinian Authority, and in particular their glorification of terror attacks against Israel and their refusal to remove antisemitic content from the curriculum,” Mr Sunak said. “But the only route to a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is through the resumption of direct negotiations, and that involves engaging with the Palestinian Authority.


Truss says, “As a politician I think it is important to deliver on what you say you will deliver and that’s why as Foreign Secretary I moved decisively to support Israel in this fight by proscribing Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Truss also supported Israel, separately, at the launch of Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday, with the Foreign Office tweeting that she said, “The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence.”



In a letter issued to the Conservative Friends of Israel group Truss wrote:”I understand the importance and sensitivity” around the location of the UK’s embassy in Israel. She added that after “many” conversations with her “good friend” Yair Lapid on the topic she would “review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing with Israel.”

Truss has also says she has succeeded in “changing the mindset” of officials at the Foreign Office over attitudes to Israel. She said: “I think I’ve demonstrated at the Foreign Office I am prepared to take on the orthodoxy .. that sometimes officials are not always giving advice that is necessarily in line with what we believe.”


Sunak says, “The historic Abraham Accords proved that peace between Israel and her Arab neighbours is possible, and have demonstrated the tremendous benefits that normalisation brings.

“The UK is in a strong position to leverage its historic relationships with other Gulf states to widen the Accords and I would like to see UK diplomats place a greater focus on this.”


Lord Stuart Polak, honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel, told Jerusalem Post:

Sunak was “very forceful in promoting anti-boycott policies as minister for local government, and was very helpful in the Treasury. All the people around him are good friends of Israel, and he has shown interest in the subject.”

Truss is “outstanding at the Foreign Office,” Polak said. “She challenged a lot of their positions and proved herself to be a very good friend and built a very good relationship with [Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair] Lapid in a short time.”

“As foreign secretary, [Truss] moved the dial in terms of understanding Israel’s relationship with the UK.”

“I have worked for 30 years on the UK-Israel political relationship and I am very confident that the golden era that we have will continue under either leadership.

“[Prime Minister] Boris Johnson is an outstanding friend of Israel and has been for a long period, but these two will continue that tradition,” he added.



FREE booklet:

Britain’s stand with Israel – 12 actions CUFI would like the UK to take