Theresa May: No Excuse for Anti-Semitism, BDS

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the United Jewish Israel Appeal charity dinner in London Sept. 17 2018

"I have come here tonight as prime minister of our country to say that I stand with you", May said.

May alluded to the fact that the Labour Party adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism after delaying the vote, but only after adding a free-speech clause on Israel. "I stand with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people".

"Both of these actions fail to protect against hatred towards individuals of the Jewish faith, and instead censor First Amendment-protected advocacy for Palestinian rights", said ADC in an action alert message.

Britain played a formative role in the establishment of the State of Israel, pledging in an open letter penned by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour in 1917 support for Zionist aspirations for the establishment of "a national home for the Jewish people".

"And criticizing the government of Israel is never - and can never be - an excuse for hatred against the Jewish people, any more than criticizing the British government would be an excuse for hatred against the British people".

In what appeared to be a message to the Labour leadership, the Prime Minister added: 'Let me be clear: you can not claim to be tackling racism, if you are not tackling anti-Semitism'. And most importantly, I do not believe that those voices will ever win.

In a clear reference to an anti-Semitic comment made by the Labour leader in 2013 - Corbyn charged at a Hamas-advertised conference that British Jews have "no sense of irony" despite "having lived in this country for a very long time" - the Prime Minister said: "Nothing excuses antisemitism - not comedy, not satire - not even irony".

"And criticising the government of Israel is never - and can never be - an excuse for hatred against the Jewish people - any more than criticising the British government would be an excuse for hatred against the British people".

Mrs May also rejected the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement which has campaigned for bans on the sale of Israeli goods and the withdrawal of funding from firms based there in protest at the treatment of Palestinians.

"There can never be any excuses for boycotts, divestment or sanctions: they are unacceptable and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to them", she said.

May also promised to remain an outspoken ally of Israel.

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