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British PM Criticizes PA Incitement, Israeli 'Settlements'

British Prime Minister vows to fight boycotts, kosher slaughter ban; Opposition heckles away.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 3:32 PM / Last Update: 3/12/2014, 4:23 PM

British PM David Cameron
British PM David Cameron
Reuters

British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed attempts to boycott Israel in his Knesset address Tuesday, and conveyed a clear message: "Britain opposes the boycott against Israel." 

"Britain opposes boycotts," he said. "Whether it is trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange, Israel's place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians," Cameron said.

"Delegitimizing the State of Israel is wrong. It's abhorrent. And together we will defeat it," he added.

Despite Cameron's declarations of support for the State of Israel, he also condemned Israel's construction in Judea and Samaria. The "settlements," as well as the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s ongoing incitement against Israel, are an obstacle for peace, according to Cameron. 

Regarding the recent push to ban kosher slaughter (shechita) in the UK, Cameron added that "ritual slaughter will be legal in the UK as long as I am Prime Minister."

Netanyahu: We want truth

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on the Knesset plenum, welcoming Cameron and discussing the issues. 

"We want peace based on truth and not a lie,"said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "For 20 years, successive governments in Israel have tried to achieve peace and security with the Palestinians. Attempts were made, with difficult with painful concessions." 

"If this time those efforts have been exhausted - this is because the Palestinians did not accept the Jewish state and agree to security arrangements protecting the citizens of Israel," he added. 

Leftist MKs began heckling Netanyahu that "settlements hinder the peace process" - but he answered them in kind. 

"Palestinian rejectionism began way before the settlements, even fifty years ago, and continued even after we had picked up and left the last inch of the Gaza Strip," he noted. "Since then, the Palestinians have showered us with missiles, backed by Iran, onto our communities from the very spot we had given them." 

Netanyahu addressed the British Prime Minister, "You, David, you would not remain indifferent if the missiles were fired at London."

MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) yelled at Netanyahu, "Thank you for giving me the right to sit here." 

Likud MKs replied, "There is no limit to your chutzpah - we will not apologize for being the Jewish state!"

'Stop the Spread of Discrimination and Hate'

Knesset Speaker and MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) spoke ahead of Cameron's visit earlier Tuesday, highlighting the issues facing Israel in the months and years ahead. 

"At this very moment, the free world is facing political and economic challenges," Edelstein noted. "We are facing the threat of a nuclear weapon from Iran, who is the greatest exporter of terror in the world. We are [also] facing a higher tendency to face national and international conflicts through the use of military force." 

"We have seen a sustained weakness of the international community, and its unwillingness to take a strong stand [on the issues] and a lack of determination to resolve conflicts, and to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity," the MK continued. 

"From an economic standpoint, we have not yet broken the crisis facing the West [. . .], mainly - reducing international debt and the development of a responsible and balanced economic policy. In light of the challenges facing the free world, I believe that a genuine partnership, an economic partnership, an ethical and secure partnership between Britain and Israel is essential." 

Edelstein asked the British government to act against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. 

"In recent weeks we have witnessed a wave boycotts aimed at harming Israel economically, along with an attempt to force Israel to agree to a specific outcome of negotiations between it and the Palestinian Authority (PA)," he noted. 

"Various international organizations - and some who pretend to be humanitarian organizations - cooperate with anti-Semitic groups in order to harm Israel and make it, as you put it precisely, an 'international economic ghetto.' Israel's economy is threatened constantly by using boycotts, and much of it has been established around the issue of dealing with them," he said. 

Edelstein added that Israel has dealt with several boycotts in the past, particularly regarding soda - the Coca-Cola boycott in 1966, the Pepsi-Cola boycott in 1990, and the Sodastream boycott today.

"It's hard to imagine the extent of hypocrisy required to boycott Israeli products," he continued, "but do not underestimate its influence. I know the uncompromising stand boycotters take, and I urge you and the leaders of the free world to act diligently to defeat this ugly phenomenon." 

"I urge you to prevent giving state support for the boycott movement against Israel and those who support it, and to act to introduce laws against the spread of discrimination and hatred," he stressed.