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Brown, in Knesset, talks tough on Iran

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a Knesset speech that the international community stands with Israel in opposing Iran’s nuclear program.

“Iran has a clear choice to make: suspend its nuclear program and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response not just of one nation but of all nations around the world,” Brown said.

He further condemned a call by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be “wiped off the map” as “totally abhorrent.”

In the first address by a British head of government to the Israeli parliament, Brown recalled hearing admiring tales of Zionist exploits by his father, a Scottish pastor, and said he looked forward to bringing his own children on a visit to the Jewish state.

He spoke of the need for Holocaust education in Britain and beyond, and vowed to oppose attempts by pro-Palestinian academics in his country to boycott their counterparts from Israel.

But Brown also urged Israel to do more to advance peacemaking with the Palestinians, including eventually “freezing and withdrawing from settlements.”

He praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom he met on Sunday, and his peers as “the best partners for a generation.”

“They understand that they can never achieve their goals for the Palestinian people at the expense of Israel’s security,” he said.

The speech, which Brown bookended with phrases in Hebrew, was rare in its warmth given the past strains in Anglo-Israeli ties. It was carried almost in its entirely by British satellite broadcasters Sky and the British Broadcasting Corp.

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