Former UK chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will become the first non-white British prime minister after becoming Conservative party leader on Monday, is a strong supporter of Israel and an ally of the UK’s Jewish community.
At a Conservative Friends of Israel event in August, Sunak declared that Jerusalem is “indisputably the historic capital” of Israel and that there was a “very strong case” for moving the UK embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv.
However Sunak, a former Treasury chief, also acknowledged “sensitivities” over the issue. The incoming premier made those remarks during his failed leadership bid against Liz Truss, whose resignation as prime minister last week after a tumultuous six-week stint in office paved the way for Sunak’s elevation to leader, after his lone challenger for the post bowed out of the race on Monday.
The Richmond MP also told the audience that he is serious about the construction of the controversial Westminster Holocaust memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens, and vowed to get BDS restrictions on the legislative agenda. He said at the event:
“We should make sure that we support the CST, and it goes back to making sure that we get the memorial built because the best way to stop this is by educating people, and the more we can spread awareness and education at every part of our society and every generation, the closer we will be to eradicating this awful, awful thing.”
In an August interview with the JC, Rishi Sunak described Israel as a “shining beacon of hope”. He also promised to increase spending on Jewish security organisations such as the Community Security Trust, expressing how he felt “horrified” by the need for security outside Jewish faith schools. Sunak also voiced concern over a rise in antisemitic incidents in the first half of 2021.
“This is not an issue to be equivocal about: everyone across parliament and the country must take a robust position on eliminating antisemitism and I am determined to ensure this scourge on our society is eradicated,” he said.