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Canadian Jewish Leaders Meet with Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister

December 24, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Affirmative responses to issues of Jewish concern by Query Elizabeth II, her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain, were reported here by Alan Rose, executive vice president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), who headed the CJC’s delegation to the first conference of Jewish leaders from Commonwealth countries which convened in London recently.

The conference, a landmark gathering of its kind, was held under the auspices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The delegates represented Jewish communities in Australia, Canada, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They were warmly received at a reception at St. James Palace where the Queen stated that the conference was a welcome development.

Rose said Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh appeared fully aware of the condition of Jews. He said he pointed out to the Duke that “anti-Zionism is now being used as a guise by anti-Semites in order to demean Jews in a socially acceptable manner.”

Rose described the meeting the Commonwealth Jewish leaders had with Mrs. Thatcher at No. 10 Downing Street. He said she too welcomed the conclave and stated that in the Jewish tradition and the British tradition there is entrenched a respect for the rule of law and civilized behavior. She observed that in fact, Anglo-Saxon law stems in large measure from Jewish law, Rose said.

The CJC leader said he told the British Prime Minister that her decision to send a task force to deter aggression against the Falkland Islands exemplified British law. He also noted that the British public saw the consequences of terrorism on their television sets every night. It would be unthinkable, he said, that terrorists should have any voice in the forthcoming negotiations between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic.

Therefore, Rose said, he told Thatcher he found it inexplicable that the British government should ask Israel to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization. “It is also strange that the PLO should find any favor in the eyes of the British government since that organization has strong links with the IRA.”

Rose said Thatcher replied affirmatively when he observed that “it is not possible for Israel to live under the threat of terrorist attacks and we hope that this will be reflected in the policies of Her Majesty’s Government.”

He said Thatcher, whose seat in the House of Commons represents the largest Jewish constituency in London, underscored the need to continue pressures on the Soviet government to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jews.

Francis Pym, the British Foreign Secretary, addressed the Commonwealth Jewish leaders. He reiterated Britain’s support for Israel but asserted that the Palestinians must be recognized and made part of the peace process, Rose reported.

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