(July 10, 2019 / JNS) Boris Johnson, who is expected to become Britain’s next prime minister, has warned Iran to “cease this madness” over violating the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that he’s “prepared” to reimpose sanctions on the regime.
In what was his only interview with Jewish media, the former foreign secretary, who labeled himself a “passionate Zionist,” promised to maintain the European Union designations of terrorist groups were the United Kingdom to leave the continental body and deal with Palestinian leaders regarding their policy of financially rewarding terrorists.
“There are funds that are made available to the Palestinian Authority that end up in the pockets of terrorist families, and that is indeed a point I raised with [Palestinian Authority leader] Mahmoud Abbas, and will continue to raise,” Johnson told the Jewish News. “I think it’s ludicrous that there should be any kind of financial incentive or compensation for terrorist activities.”
On the threat from Tehran, he said, “I don’t want people to think I’m in any way soft on Iran. We face a very difficult situation, and I am certainly prepared to go down that route if they have breached the nuclear deal. My strong, strong advice to the Iranians would be to cease this madness, not to take any further steps that would break the terms of the agreement, and not to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
“I think that there are enough tensions in that region without triggering a nuclear arms race, whose consequences would be very hard to foresee, and which would certainly pose very difficult choices for any Israeli government,” he continued. “I certainly think you could not fault the U.K. government for being tough on Iran’s sanction busting. As prime minister, I’d make sure we continue to do everything we can to constrain Iran’s disruptive behavior in the region.”
In response to labeling in 2014 that Israel’s response to rockets being launched by Hamas in Gaza into the Jewish state was “disproportionate,” Johnson said that “those of us who support Israel always want Israel to show the greatest possible restraint in all its actions and to do everything it can to minimize civilian casualties.”
“It’s totally unacceptable that innocent Israeli civilians should face the threat of rocket fire and bombardment from Gaza,” he continued. “I understand why Israel reacted in the way that it did, and I understand the provocation and the outrageous behavior that occasioned that response. All I’m saying is that you know in any such response it’s always right to be proportionate.
“Israel has a right to respond, Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel has a right to meet force with force. I absolutely agree with that, but all I was saying is I believe in Israel. I support Israel. I will always support Israel. I just joined with those who say ‘I want the Israeli response to be proportionate.’ ”
Additionally, Johnson labeled the anti-Israel BDS movement “just makes no sense at all.”
He also said he “could see the logic” in relocating Britain’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem “when we make further progress” in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Johnson noted he would formally recognize a Palestinian state when Ramallah “meaningfully recognizes Israel and stops threatening to revoke recognition.”
Moreover, he pledged to “continue to support” a planned Holocaust memorial site in Westminster; in addition to allowing kosher slaughter, which is banned in some places in Europe, as “it is very important also that this country maintains high standards of hygiene and animal welfare.”
Finally, Johnson said “there is no question” U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn “is indulging and condoning anti-Semitism,” calling it “quite extraordinary and reprehensible,” and that “it would never have been tolerated 20 years ago.”