British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at a November 2, 2107 dinner in London marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
Lord Rothschild, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chief Rabbi, distinguished guests, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so pleased to be here with you tonight – and to be with you Lord Balfour on this special evening – as we mark the centenary of the letter written by your great-Uncle: which I believe to be one of the most significant letters in history.
AS we work together towards Balfour’s vision of a peaceful co-existence we must be equally clear that there can never be any excuses for boycotts, divestment or sanctions: they are unacceptable and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to them.
And yes, this means recognizing that there is today a new and pernicious form of anti-Semitism which uses criticism of the actions of the Israeli government as a despicable justification for questioning the very right of Israel to exist.
This is abhorrent and we will not stand for it.
That is why the United Kingdom has been at the forefront of an international effort to create a new definition of anti-Semitism which explicitly calls out this inexcusable attempt to justify hatred.
So let me be clear. Criticizing the actions of Israel is never – and can never be – an excuse for questioning Israel’s right to exist, any more than criticizing the actions of Britain could be an excuse for questioning our right to exist.
And criticizing the government of Israel is never – and can never be – an excuse for hatred against the Jewish people – any more than criticizing the British government would be an excuse for hatred against the British people.
Put simply, there can be no excuses for any kind of hatred towards the Jewish people.
There never has been – and there never will be.
And let me say this too. We will never forget where that hatred and prejudice can lead.
That is why it is right that the United Kingdom will have a permanent and fitting National Memorial to the Holocaust standing next to Parliament together with a learning centre that will teach the lessons of the Holocaust for society today and act as a voice against hatred in the modern world.
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