Head of Israel-Jewish Congress: Balfour would be ‘proud’ of UK-Israel ties

Head of Israel-Jewish Congress: Balfour would be ‘proud’ of UK-Israel ties

Vladimir Sloutsker spoke at the Jewish News-BICOM Balfour centenary conference

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Vladimir Sloutsker  

Credit: Marc Morris
Vladimir Sloutsker Credit: Marc Morris

The president of the Israel-Jewish Congress, Vladimir Sloutsker, told an audience at the third Bicom/Jewish News strategic conference that Lord Balfour would have been astonished at what Israel had become, and commended the shared sense of dynamism, innovation and creativity that  linked Britain and Israel.

Mr Sloutsker, who co-founded the IJC in 2012, said: “Though unimaginable just 100 years ago, Lord Balfour would no doubt be incredibly proud at the closeness of ties between the UK and Israel today, ties that are grounded in our shared values of freedom, democracy and human rights and a common future underpinned by economic prosperity, innovation and a constant desire for peace.”

Nevertheless, besides the close trade links — the UK is Israel’s biggest trading partner in Europe — Mr Sloutsker struck a pessimistic note when he warned of the continuing dangers of terrorism and extremism. “As with anti-Semitism, we know what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. So with terrorism — what starts with israel never ends with israel. And we also know that terror is terror is terror, wherever it occurs.”

Israel remained a vital ally in the front line against the war on terror, Mr Sloutsker said, and “in protecting democratic values the world over.’

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