PM Benjamin Netanyahu and new UK PM Boris Johnson in Jerusalem, Sept. 30, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
boris johnson benjamin netanyahu

The conversation relating to Iran was most likely a response to Johnson’s appointment of Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who is known to favor the nuclear agreement.

By Arye Green, TPS and United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Saturday night that “it is important to take a strong stand against Iran.”

Netanyahu tweeted about the conversation Saturday night in Hebrew: “I spoke with the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. I told him it is important to take a strong stance against Iran. We agreed to continue deepening economic cooperation as well as cooperation in innovation.”

The conversation relating to Iran was most likely a response to Johnson’s appointment of Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. The appointment was made at a sensitive time for British-Iranian relations, as Iran had seized two British oil tankers in retaliation for Britain’s involvement in the capturing of an Iranian tanker earlier last month.

Wallace has been known to visit Iran frequently and is considered to favor the current deal with Iran, which was nullified by the Americans and criticized heavily by Israel.

Johnson’s judgment has been questioned over the appointment of Wallace, who had boasted to constituents that he has visited Iran more than any other MP. He also helped block attempts last year to ban the Hezbollah terror group in its entirety, The JC reported.

Another point of criticism against Wallace is his praise for Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, with whom the new defense secretary visited Iran four years ago. Corbyn has been known to have strong anti-Israeli sentiments and has been accused of anti-Semitism.

Labour Friends of Israel has called Wallace’s behavior “utterly shocking,” The JC said.

Wallace’s record is in stark contrast to Johnson’s other appointments. Indeed, since Johnson took office on July 23, his government has been considered one of the most pro-Israel UK governments in recent years.

Dominic Raab, the newly appointed foreign secretary, has attacked Labour’s members regarding claims of anti-Semitism, saying the rhetoric has been “beyond the bounds of tolerant debate” and referring to Corbyn’s party as “a great stain on our country”.

Michael Gove, the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, is an outspoken supporter of Israel and even backed the US embassy move to Jerusalem last year.

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