Daily Israel Report

British PM Brown To Claim He Will Always Be Israel's Friend

British PM Brown will tell the Knesset Monday that he is Israel's eternal friend and will stand by its side against the Iranian nuclear reactor.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/21/2008, 8:43 AM

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will tell the Knesset Monday he is Israel's friend and will denounce Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It will be the first time a British premier has addressed the Israeli legislature.

Brown will emphasize that Britain has been at Israel's side when the Jewish state was in danger and that it wants tighter sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program.

"To those who question Israel's very right to exist, and threaten the lives of its citizens through terror, we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security," Prime Minister Brown will tell Knesset Members, according to excerpts of his speech released in advance.
The people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security.

"Iran now has a clear choice to make: suspend its nuclear program and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response not of one nation but of many nations."

But Yehuda HaKohen of the Zionist Freedom Alliance says that Brown's remarks on Sunday during a visit to Bethlehem were not friendly to Israel. Brown stated that Israel must stop building in eastern Jerusalem and criticized the growth of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.

HaKohen responded:

"The British Empire created the Middle East conflict. They did everything possible to prevent a Jewish state in our land and to that end they imported Arabs from neighboring territories and prevented Jews from returning home. It took years of bitter war for us to drive them from our soil and even after we achieved this, they helped the surrounding Arab states to invade and war against us. For the nation who, through their colonial policy of divide and rule, originally incited the Arabs against the Jews to speak now of peace is the height of hypocrisy. And for the imperialist power that once occupied our land to lecture us about our rights to the whole of that land is the height of all insults. The British should be ashamed to step foot in Jerusalem. And our leaders should have the courage to make this clear.”

In his Monday speech in the Knesset, the British Prime Minister also will praise Israel's achievements in society and business in the 60 years since its establishment. "Britain and Israel continue to stand together in believing that history sides with those who fight for liberty -- and if the great conflict of ideas of the 21st century is between those who believe in closed societies who would turn back the clock of progress and those who believe in open societies, then we are together on the side of openness," he will say.

"Let me tell the people of Israel today: Britain is your true friend. A friend in difficult times as well as in good times, a friend who will stand beside you whenever your peace, your stability and your existence are under threat; a friend who shares an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice."

On Sunday, Prime Minister Brown emphasized that economic support and advanced police training in the Palestinian Authority (PA) will pave the way to peace. He also visited the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial.