NATIONAL NEWS
Gove: Israel is birthright of Jews

MP MICHAEL Gove has condemned the "dark and furious" activism against Israel.

He told Monday's Conservative Friends of Israel's annual business lunch: "There is no abatement in the threat to Israel, with the growth of an anti-Israel movement in recent years fuelled by a dark and furious energy.

"This movement hopes to take advantage not only of fading memories and youthful ignorance, but of residual and nascent bigotries of the worst kind.

"We can - and should - feel gratitude for the founders of the state of Israel and the generations of its citizens who endured so much, worked so hard and gave so much to ensure the state's prosperity."

The Environment Secretary also said that, in the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration, Britain should "feel proud of the role it played" in creating modern Israel."

"That land has always been the historic homeland of the Jewish people - it is their birthright," he added.

"Every inch of that land has been fought and died for."

The minister said Israel's enemies wanted "not a smaller Israel, but no Israel at all".

He explained: "The elimination of Israel is the political project of Hamas, the military ambition of Hezbollah, the dark fantasy of al-Qaeda and the animating wickedness at the heart of Isis."

Mr Gove also said that when people talk about 'occupation', they are not referring to Ramallah, Bethlehem or Nablus, "they are talking about every inch of the state that was declared nearly 70 years ago".

"These people keep showing their true colours - again and again", he added, citing a protest at the American embassy in London last Friday to object to Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The crowd, Mr Gove emphasised, did not call for a two-state solution, with Israel and a future Palestinian state living side-by-side - instead large numbers chanted "Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud", meaning "Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning".

Mr Gove added: "Talking of the city that the Israeli government long-ago declared as its capital, why would they invoke a battle 1,400 years ago where Muslim armies captured and slaughtered Jews?"

"Such people have a fundamental problem with the existence of any Jewish state anywhere in the world and especially in what has been the homeland of the Jewish people long before any other surviving claimant came along".

He said that there should be "no ambiguity" over the UK's pride in "the role we played in the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel".

Mr Gove added: "At a time when our history in Britain has become, for many, either an embarrassment or an indictment, let us be clear that committing to provide a home for the Jewish people was not just a moral good, it has been a success for mankind, a vindication of the human spirit.

"Every single inch of that land has been fought for and died for by generations of Israelis and generations of Jews who did not simply demand their rights".

"Not a piece of that land came easily or remained easily and every portion of it has been fought for with sacrifices that are unimaginable for most of us sitting here today".

The event was also addressed by Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt MP, Israel's ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, former CFI parliamentary chairman Sir Eric Pickles and CFI honorary president Lord Polak.


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