David Cameron: Britain needs to be in the EU to stand up for Israel


(JTA) — In an appeal to his country’s Jews, Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain can only positively affect Europe’s approach to Israel by remaining in the European Union.

“When Europe is discussing its attitude to Israel, do you want Britain — Israel’s greatest friend — in there opposing boycotts, opposing the campaign for divestment and sanctions, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the discussion that takes place?” Cameron said Monday night during an address to Jewish Care, a Jewish health and social services charity.

It is Cameron’s only scheduled address to a British Jewish audience before Thursday’s national referendum on Britain’s staying in or leaving the European Union. The London-based Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish British news website Jewish News reported on the address.

In December, Britain’s Parliament voted to put the decision on Brexit, as the UK’s withdrawal has come to be known, to a national vote.

Cameron, who is staunchly against Britain exiting the EU, also told the predominantly Jewish audience that Britain was better placed to “stop Iran getting nuclear weapons” from within the EU.

The prime minister referenced the pro-Brexit “Breaking Point” poster campaign by Independence Party head Nigel Farage. Farage argues that by staying in the European Union, Britain will be asked to absorb thousands more migrants from Arab countries.

“I’m proud that Britain is home to people who fled persecution – including those who fled the Nazis and from Russians pogroms,” Cameron said. “We should say to Farage and his campaign of division and intolerance ‘we don’t want your vision of Britain, we don’t want you’re selling, you’re not selling the kind of country we want for ourselves or our grandchildren’ – and I say we should vote decisively to reject it on Thursday.”

Cameron spoke about the murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox by a pro-Brexit activist who reportedly shouted “Britain first” before attacking her. Cox’s husband called on the British public to oppose hate in her memory.

“Wherever we find hatred, we should drive it out of our politics and drive it out of our communities,” Cameron said. “No one understands this better than our Jewish community.”

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