Jeremy Hunt hailed the “very strong relationship” between Britain and Israel but acknowledged that Britain’s 1939 White Paper capping immigration to British-Mandate of Palestine was a “black moment” in history.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt celebrated the “great friendship” between the UK and Israel and underlined that “Israel’s right to self-defense is absolutely unconditional” at Conservative Friends of Israel’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday.
Addressing an audience of over 250 CFI supporters, including 50 parliamentarians, the Foreign Secretary underlined hailed Israel as a “shining beacon” of democratic values.
Hunt hailed the “very strong relationship” between Britain and Israel that originated with the Balfour Declaration, but added that Britain’s 1939 White Paper capping immigration to Palestine was a “black moment” in history.
The Foreign Secretary stated: “There have been some black moments when we have done the wrong thing such as the 1939 White Paper which capped the number of visas issued to Jews wanting to go to the British mandate of Palestine”. It is believed to be the first such remarks made by a British Foreign Secretary.
In 1939, when Jews were fleeing Nazi Europe, the White Paper, issued by the British government headed by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 for five years.
The UK “will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in stamping out anti-Semitism,” he said, adding that last week he had the privilege of unveiling a statue of British Holocaust hero Frank Foley. “If we don’t learn lessons, history will judge us very poorly indeed,” he stated.
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