British PM Cameron on 1st state visit to Israel warns of Iran’s “despotic regime” with “nuclear intentions.” UPDATE: Read the full text of the PM’s address.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the Knesset, March 12, 2014 (photo credit: Knesset spokesperson/Times of Israel)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the Knesset (photo credit: Knesset spokesperson/Times of Israel)

>> Read full text of PM Cameron’s address to the Knesset

On his first state visit to Israel, British Prime Minister David Cameron today told the Knesset he has Jewish roots, including a relative who wrote the first Yiddish novel, and vowed that Britain would always stand as a friend to Israel and the Jewish people.

He spoke out strongly against international efforts to delegitimize Israel, and warned that Iran’s government is a “despotic regime” with “nuclear intentions.” He vowed to work with all in the region to help make peace while standing firmly behind Israel’s right and need for security.

“You have a British prime minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock-solid,” Cameron said.

Speaking of the IDF’s intercept of an Iranian ship offensive arms to Gaza, Cameron said this was “yet another despicable attempt by the Iranians to smuggle more long-range rockets into Gaza….It gave me a renewed understanding of what it must be like to be afraid in your own home.”

The trip is brief — just 24 hours — and Cameron will also be meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

Cameron called for an end to Palestinian incitement, and also for a cessation of settlement building.

UPDATE ON CAMERON’S SPEECH AND TRIP

  • “British Prime Minister David Cameron, in an address to the Knesset Wednesday afternoon, stressed his country’s backing for Israeli efforts to achieve peace and security, and promised his support in combating international attempts to boycott and sanction the Jewish state,” reported the Times of Israel.
  • “Delegitimizing the State of Israel is wrong,” he said. “It’s abhorrent. And together we will defeat it.”
  • “You have a British prime minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock-solid.”
  • The British prime minister emphasized his support for “the long and rightful search of a people for a nation. And the right for the Jewish people to live a peaceful and prosperous life in Israel.”
  • Cameron was adamant about his position against efforts to boycott Israel.
  • “Britain opposes boycotts. Whether it’s trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians.”
  • Cameron also referenced his own Jewish great-great-grandfather, and another ancestor who penned the first Yiddish novel.
  • Painting a picture of a vibrant and open Middle East after a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, Cameron said he understood Israeli security concerns, and backed Jerusalem’s right to defend itself.
  • “I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens. A right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality, and in decades of common endeavor between Israel and her allies.”
  • Turning to last week’s interception of the Klos C ship carrying Iranian arms, Cameron called the incident “yet another despicable attempt by the Iranians to smuggle more long-range rockets into Gaza… It gave me a renewed understanding of what it must be like to be afraid in your own home.”….
  • Cameron directed harsh criticism at Iran. “There is no rule that says if Israel and the Palestinians make peace, Iran is somehow going to dismantle its despotic regime or abandon its nuclear intentions.
  • “That can only be done through sustained international pressure. I share your deep skepticism and great concern about Iran. I am not starry eyed about the new regime. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world — not just to Israel and with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that is never allowed to happen.”…..
  • The British prime minister praised ongoing efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and the PA.
  • “We back the compromises needed — including the halt to settlement activity and an end to Palestinian incitement too.
  • “And we recognize the difficult and courageous decisions both sides are taking, not least with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s decision to release terrorist prisoners, with all the anguish that can bring for affected families.”
  • Cameron outlined a vision of “a proper lasting peace that allows a strong moderate Palestinian government to end the fears of a failed state on Israel’s border… A deal that means an end of all claims — and an end of all conflict.
  • “Israelis and Palestinians no longer each other’s enemy, but actually working together to maintain security against those who would seek to harm us all.”

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