“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement is racist and antisemitic”, British Home Secretary Priti Patel told a gathering of Conservative Friends of Israel.
“Holding the Jewish community collectively responsible for what happens in the Middle East by my definition is racist,” Patel said.
She spoke at a CFI Independence Day event Monday that included an audience of 50 parliamentarians and Israel’s Ambassador to Great Britain Tzipi Hotovely.
Patel’s Conservative party intends to present legislation that would prevent British public bodies from engaging in boycott activities such as BDS.
“Everything we have seen around the BDS movement is racist,” she said, explaining that this includes “the antisemitic tropes, the cartoons, the chants [and] the flag-waving.”
Growing up, Patel said, she did not recall that antisemitism was a feature of British life, but that has changed.
“In my 12 years in parliament, it is utterly appalling that antisemitism has been on the increase. It has infiltrated our politics, our political dialogue and discourse. That is completely unacceptable,” she said.
“Antisemitism is racism in my book, it really is,” the home secretary said. “That is why we are united in standing up and speaking out against antisemitism.”
Patel reaffirmed Britain’s stand against terror, recalling the UK’s decision to outlaw both the military and political wing of Hamas.
This was a “moral imperative,” she said, “because Hamas participates in, promotes and encourages terrorism and we can never tolerate extremism.”
There must be zero tolerance for terrorism, Patel stated.
She spoke of her deep connection to Israel and the Jewish people, as well as the shared values including a belief in freedom and democracy.
Israel and Great Britain “have a prosperous future together .. for centuries to come,” Patel said adding that will include security, trade and most importantly, the “bond of friendship.”