Priti Patel has declared her “unflinching and unequivocal” support for Israel, describing her relationship to the country as “deeply personal” to her.
Speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel reception on Monday, the Home Secretary also said that she is “quite unapologetic” about the proscription of the Hamas terror group last year, saying that it was “not just the right thing to do, [it was] a moral imperative”.
Patel praised the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, also in attendance, thanking her for “who you are and what you do” and for the “wider support” that Israel gives to the UK.
Speaking to an audience of 140 CFI supporters, including 50 parliamentarians, Patel spoke of the “shared values” between the UK and Israel, adding that “everything we have seen around the BDS movement is racist”.
She said that the UK and Israel have an “unwavering belief in freedom, democracy and security”, saying that they are “united in speaking out and standing up against racism and antisemitism”.
Priti Patel giving the keynote address to CFI supporters and parliamentarians (Photo: CFI)
The Home Secretary expressed her concern that antisemitism has “infiltrated our politics, our political dialogue and discourse”, adding: “It is utterly appalling that antisemitism has been on the increase”.
These comments follow a report by Tel Aviv University last month that found that antisemitism was on the rise around the world in 2021, with the UK experiencing a significant rise compared to both 2020 and 2019.
Patel also expressed her “sympathies and condolences” to the families of the 19 Israelis murdered in the latest wave of terror attacks.
“We can never tolerate extremism… it absolutely erodes the fundamental rock of security and with that peace and prosperity”, the Home Secretary said, adding that the UK Government “will continue to send out the strongest messages around zero tolerance towards terrorist activities, but also towards the type of activities that are aimed and targeted at hurting the State of Israel, Jewish communities and the people of Israel”.
Israel's Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, addressing parliamentarians and CFI supporters (Photo: CFI)
In her speech, Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely praised the Home Secretary for her work on “combating terrorism, fighting all types of extremism and fighting antisemitism”.
The ambassador also thanked CFI for its work, praising CFI Parliamentary Chairman Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles and Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE for their work on strengthening the UK-Israel bilateral relationship.