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JACK STRAW CONCERNED ABOUT FOREIGN ANTISEMITISM

Last updated: 2003-07-16

The Foreign Secretary told Board leaders that he is following up on their earlier representations about Arab antisemitic incitement, and would welcome more information about antisemitism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Jack Straw was meeting the Board’s new team of Honorary Officers following their recent election. He told them that his recent meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister had resolved many of the earlier difficulties and he welcomed the growing relationship between Ariel Sharon and Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Prime Minister. The British Government fully supported Abu Mazen’s position, but believed that Yasser Arafat could not be ignored as President of the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Straw also discussed the government’s policy towards Iran, international terrorism, its voting record in the United Nations and the diversion of EU funds within the Palestinian Authority.

Following the meeting Board President Henry Grunwald QC commented:

“We had a long and cordial meeting. We thanked Mr. Straw for the government’s firm stance towards international terrorism, and urged them to ban the political wings of Hamas and Hizbollah following the banning of their military wings. We welcome all that the British Government has done to promote the Road Map and are pleased that most of the recent difficulties with Israel appear to have been overcome, although we do not believe that it is helpful to maintain dealings with Arafat, who is clearly seeking to undermine Abu Mazen. We appreciate Mr. Straw’s commitments to follow up on antisemitism in the Arab world and elsewhere, and look forward to continuing our dialogue with him.”