Tories ‘proud of flak’ for backing Israel
FOREIGN SECRETARY Philip Hammond has mocked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn while moving to reassure supporters of Israel of the government’s “unshakeable commitment” to the country.
Speaking in front of a packed audience at the Conservative Friends of Israel event at the Tories’ annual conference, Mr Hammond made light of Mr Corbyn’s failure to refer to Israel by name at a similar event last week.
Delegates cheered as Mr Hammond said: “I’ve read the reports of Mr Corbyn’s attendance at the Labour Friends of Israel meeting at Labour conference and I just want to say one word to you: Israel. I’ll say it again: Israel.”
More than 500 people attended the reception in Manchester on Tuesday, including Business Secretary Sajid Javid, Wales Secretary Stephen Crabb, party chairman Lord Feldman and his deputy, Robert Halfon MP.
Again referring to Mr Corbyn’s past comments, Mr Hammond said: “I can promise you that I will never describe anybody who launches indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian populations as my friends.”
He said that during last year’s Gaza conflict the Tories “made a clear decision that we would stand behind Israel and defend what Israel was doing.
“We took a bit of flak for it and we are proud of that, and we will stand behind Israel again when it is defending its right to exist and its right to defend itself against attacks.”
David Cameron used his conference speech to announce that religious insti-
Philip Hammond addresses the Conservative Friends of Israel on Tuesday tutions that teach children would have to be registered for inspections.
He said: “There is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at madrassas, Sunday schools or Jewish yeshivas.
“But in some madrassas we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions…swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people. If you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.”
Zac Goldsmith, whose late father, Sir James Goldsmith, was Jewish, has been selected as the Conservative candidate for next year’s London Mayoral election. Mr Goldsmith told the JC last month that he would send “overt and very clear” support to reassure the capital’s Jewish community if elected.