British Prime Minister Theresa May celebrated the Balfour Declaration at a dinner held on Wednesday to welcome the Jewish New Year, crediting it for creating the “remarkable country of Israel”, according to Ynet News.
The dinner, held at the British Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street, was attended by senior politicians and members of the Jewish community in the UK.
“We look forward to [marking] the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November,” she opened.
“Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country.”
May also reinforced her support of the Zionist nation, stating:
As Prime Minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.
As the Balfour Declaration surpasses its 100th year, human rights activists have reiterated calls for Britain to acknowledge the role it played in creating the Israeli state and facilitating the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
Last year, the Palestinian Authority called for the UK government to apologise for the declaration, and sought to sue the UK for causing irreparable damage to the Palestinian people. Such calls have been largely ignored by British politicians who have instead reinforced their support of Israel.
Earlier this week, British Cabinet member Sajid Javid announced at the World Jewish Congress that the UK would celebrate the upcoming anniversary with pride.
“Someone said we should apologise for the Declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen.”
To apologise for the Balfour Declaration would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist
He continued to emphasise the current UK government’s intolerance towards any kind of boycott of Israel and outlined the steps that have been taken to counter peaceful opposition of Israel.
“I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success.”
“As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel,” he concluded.
The UK has maintained close diplomatic, trade and security ties with Israel since its inception, and is counted upon by Israel to vote in its favour at the UN and other international institutions.