Monday, 26 Sep 2022 - 1 of Tishri, 5783

British Conservative Party leadership candidates address possibly moving Britain’s embassy to Jerusalem

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British Conservative Party leadership candidate Liz Truss, who is also the current Foreign Secretary, has promised to consider moving Britain’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if she is elected Tory leader and thus becomes automatically the new Prime Minister.

She made the promise in a letter written to members of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI). She also participated in a CFI event in which she addressed voters and answered questions about Israel-U.K. relations.

“I understand the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British Embassy in Israel,” Truss wrote in the letter, adding that she has had “many conversations with my good friend,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, on the topic.

While stopping short of committing to a move, she vowed to “review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing with Israel.”

She also warned that if Iran continues to refuse a new deal to restrict its drive to acquire nuclear weapons so that current diplomatic efforts to pursue a new agreement collapse then “all options are on the table.’’

“My history of advocating for Israel on the world stage is clear. As Foreign Secretary it was a great honour to renew the UK’s commitment to Israel through a new UK-Israel Strategic Partnership alongside my counterpart Yair Lapid. The safety and security of Israel is of the utmost importance,” Truss said.

She said she will  ensure ‘’that we deliver on our proposed Bill to end local councils bringing in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policies that target Israel.’’

“Public bodies should not be engaging in such discriminatory policies which go against the stance of this Government and sow needless divison. I will ensure that this is put to a stop,’’ she said.

“It also 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,’’ she added.

Another Conservative member of the Parliament, Rishi Sunak, who is also a party leadership contender,  said that there is a “very strong case” for moving the British embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and formally recognising it as the capital city.

Speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel meeting, Sunak, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020 to 2022, said: “To me, it’s indisputably the historic capital. Clearly there’s a very strong case for it to be recognised. The point I was making then, as I would make now, is I’m very open to looking at that, and all I would say is, having not been Foreign Secretary, there must be some sensitivities involved because if it was that easy, it would have been done by now.’’

Like Truss,  Sunak addressed the need to combat anti-Semitism and the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) movement in the United Kingdom. As he wrote in his letter: “The divisive tactics of a small clique of left-wing activists do not represent wider society … .”

He also proposed making the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre free for visitors, and wants to introduce legislation to make sure the Holocaust educational facility is built “as soon as possible.”

Tory members will vote for their next leader in September following the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July. The  winner will be announced on 5 September. The winner is expected to enter No 10 the following day.

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