PM told to sack minister who called for moving British embassy to Jerusalem

28th Feb 2020
PM told to sack minister who called for moving British embassy to Jerusalem

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick (Credit:Stuart Graham/Wiki-Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have called on the Prime Minster to sack his Communities Secretary for publicly voicing support for moving the British embassy to Jerusalem in “direct defiance” of international law and UK policy. Boris Johnson’s office was forced to distance itself by saying it has “no plans” to move its embassy from Tel Aviv following comments by Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick.

Jenrick told attendees at a Conservative Friends of Israel reception that he would “look forward to the day” when Britain’s embassy will be “moved to Jerusalem”. Speaking at the parliamentary event on January 28, the Minister added he was told by an ambassador that “we have a patch of land in Jerusalem that has been waiting for our embassy for some time.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called on Johnson to sack Jenrick. A spokesman for the PSC told The Muslim News Jenrick’s comments are in “direct defiance of the stated UK Government policy and of international law.” Adding, “Boris Johnson needs to make clear that no minister who openly advocates for law-breaking is fit to serve in Government.”

The annual event was attended by some 100 parliamentarians, including former Chancellor Sajid Javid, Conservative Chairman James Cleverly and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev.

While the US, relocated its Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May 2018, the UK has not suggested any plans to follow in its footsteps. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was rejected by a majority of world leaders.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on December 7, 2017, where 14 out of 15 members condemned Trump’s decision. Britain, France, Sweden, Italy and Japan were among the countries who criticized Trump’s decision at the emergency meeting.

The Jewish Chronicle reported how ‘to loud applause at the packed gathering’, Jenrick said, “As Housing Secretary I don’t like land-banking. I want us to build that embassy.” Javid declared the Government’s “unwavering support” for Israel and said “every minister thinks carefully about what they can do to strengthen that relationship.”

It’s not the first time Jenrick has voiced pro-Israel sentiment. Jenrick has pledged to come down hard on local councils and universities that fail to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. Speaking to the British Board of Deputies on September 15, 2019, Jenrick vowed to pursue supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

He said he will come down heavily on both local councils and universities that did not adopt the IHRA definition, which has been the source of controversy in the UK. Critics say the definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and undermines free speech.

Jenrick dismissed these concerns. He insisted that the “suggestions that the IHRA definition curtails legitimate criticism of the Israeli government is wrong and must be countered.” A Government spokesperson told The Muslim News: “The British Embassy in Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.”

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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