Shimon Peres Now Denies Calling British ‘Anti-Semites’

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peresAmid growing controversy over his comments, published on a Jewish website, Israeli President Shimon Peres has fought back to insist that he has “the highest regard” for the way in which Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany during the Second World War.”

“President Peres never accused the British people of anti-Semitism,” his spokesman said in a statement issued last night. “The president does not believe that British governments are motivated by anti-Semitism, nor were they in the past.

In an interview with Benny Morris, an Israeli historian, published in the Tablet journal last week, Peres claimed that there had always been something “pro-Arab” and “anti-Israel” in the British establishment.

Asked whether this was due to anti-Semitism, Peres replied: “Yes, there is also anti-Semitism. There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary. But with Germany, relations are pretty good, as with Italy and France.”

Peres’s office said that the president viewed Israeli relations with Britain as “of the greatest importance” and insisted that his comments were driven by dismay that some in Britain did not understand the grim reality of living under the threat of terrorism.

“The president did express concern that some people in Britain do not fully appreciate the difficulties of facing an onslaught of terror whilst adhering to democratic practice, as Israel does,” the statement read. “Israel civilians have endured over 10,000 missiles fired on them from Israel.”

Among ordinary Israelis, there was considerable support for the president’s attack on Britain, which has been denounced in some quarters in the United Kingdom.

“The only reason why Britain is upset is because they know what Peres says is true, and the truth hurts,” said Yael Weisman, a teacher in Yerushalayim.

Her husband Yigal agreed.

“Britain has become the most anti-Semitic country in Europe,” he said. “It’s clear what’s happened. London has become Londonistan and the government there is more afraid of upsetting Muslims who are taking over than Jews who are more polite and far away.”

Peres said the Labour party had failed to give Israel support in the wake of the country’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. He said Whitehall had failed to recognise the huge sacrifice the Jewish state had made to pull back.

“We evacuated 8,000 settlers, and it was very difficult,” he said. “It cost us $2.5bn in compensation.

“We left the Gaza Strip completely. Why did they fire rockets at us? For years they fired rockets at us … When they fired at us, the British didn’t say a word.”

Peres subsequently stood by the observations on Gaza. “The President did express concern that some people in Britain do not fully appreciate the difficulties of facing an onslaught of terror whilst adhering to democratic practice, as Israel does,” the statement released by his office said. “Israel civilians have endured over 10,000 missiles fired on them from Gaza.”

David Cameron, the prime minister, caused a furore in Israel last week by describing Gaza as an open prison camp.

The additional factor that many MPs must address a muslim constituency that was imposing an additional burden on the Jewish state.

“There are several million Muslim voters [in the UK]. And for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected,” he said.

“They think the Palestinians are the underdog. In their eyes, the Arabs are the underdog. Even though this is irrational.”

{The Telegraph/Matzav.com Newscenter}

4 COMMENTS

  1. Does it really matter?? How many times do you read an article, just to read a day or two later, either a denial or claiming misquoted. I did not need to be told that the UK are anti-Semites. The Church & Crown were never fans of the Jewish people. NEVER. They are the main reason, Israel today has its problems. Why isn’t there an uproar over the fact that it was the UK that gave, the Hashimite King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the East of the Jordan. Peres need not deny anything.

  2. There are a lot of problems in Britain and with British governments in the past (as well as the current one) but it is hardly Nazi Germany and there are many people in Britain who are pro-Israel.

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