By Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom—
Former Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and Israeli Ambassador to the U.K. Mark Regev spoke at the House of Commons in London on Tuesday at an event called “Refuting Balfour’s Detractors.”
The event comes 99 years after British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote his historic letter stating that his government views “with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Gold, who has resumed his work as president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, attacked the Palestinian efforts to cast the letter in a negative light.
“The campaign waged by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority against the Balfour Declaration is part of the political warfare waged against the State of Israel; it is unacceptable that groups that are associated with Hamas are allowed to use the British Parliament as a venue for undermining the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” Dore said, referring to a event held in the House of Lords in October.
During that event, a pro-Palestinian group accused of having links to Hamas announced the relaunch of the Balfour Apology Campaign, “which asks the U.K. government to officially apologize for its past colonial crimes in Palestine.”
Gold said that the “ongoing attacks on the Balfour Declaration are part of the continued Palestinian refusal to accept the rights of the Jewish people, including the right to have a national home. The Palestinian leadership’s opposition to the Balfour Declaration shows once again that it seeks to do the exact opposite [of recognizing Jewish rights].”
Media figures and members of parliament took part in the event Tuesday, as did Professor Andrew Roberts, a historian and journalist, and Alan Baker, the former Israeli ambassador to Canada who served as legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry. Baker said the Balfour Declaration was a “seminal legal document that cannot nullified or apologized for.” He further stressed that “the Oslo Accords include an article that mentions the historical and legitimate rights of the other side, and therefore the Palestinians are now hypocritical [by demanding an apology].”
The event was chaired by Michael Gove, a member of parliament and a former justice minister, who called for moving the British Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. This is the first public statement to that effect from a Conservative member of parliament. “Let’s be clear, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism; Britain must stand for the State of Israel,” Gove said, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.