Community leaders this week called on David Cameron to use his upcoming visit to Israel to enhance bilateral cooperation to underline its rejection of boycotts as both countries’ foreign ministers insisted ties were now “stronger than ever”. The prime minister is expected to arrive in the Jewish state in February, for his first visit since entering Downing Street.
Speaking ahead of the Jewish Leadership Council’s annual meeting with Cameron today, a spokesman for the organisation said: “The visit provides an unparalleled opportunity to highlight the already strong ties in trade, investment, scientific, educational and cultural cooperation, and to enable further partnerships to take root. This sends a strong message to those who wish to boycott Israel that the Government rejects any such tactic.”
He added: “We also hope the Prime Minister will take the opportunity to use encouraging language so the Israeli Government sees potential tangible benefits of taking difficult decisions for peace.”
The Board of Deputies’ Alex Brummer said the visit “underlines the commitment of the British government to the peace process and the two-state solution to which the British Jewish community is so deeply devoted”. He added that he hoped Cameron would “deepen the already considerable cooperation on research and development and technological projects emphasised through the UK-Israel Tech hub” as well as academic links that benefit both countries.
During talks in London, William Hague and Avigdor Lieberman discussed the package of security, political and economic incentives the EU will provide both sides at the point of a final agreement. A joint statement said they also “agreed the negotiations provide a unique opportunity to end the conflict once and for all”. On Iran, they agreed sanctions should “remain robust until Iran agrees to a comprehensive and final settlement addressing all international concerns about its nuclear programme”.
The pair also discussed the importance of enhancing academic and scientific cooperation between the two countries. Lieberman – who courted controversy this week by suggesting that a group of Arab villages next to the Green Line could be part of a future Palestinian state – also briefed Jewish community leaders at the Israeli Ambassador’s residence yesterday.