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Centenary of the Balfour Declaration


30th October 2017

Jonathan Djanogly praises Lord Balfour’s role in the creation of the state of Israel which has risen out of the desert to become an innovator and world leader in many tech and science areas.

25th October 2017

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

In celebrating the Balfour Declaration, does my hon. Friend agree that Britain can be proud to have played its part in creating a nation which rose out of the desert to become an innovator and world leader in many areas, including technology, agri-science, cyber-tech and medicine, and that the world has benefitted from Israel’s development?

Dr Offord

I agree that that is something we can be proud of. Those of us who have visited Israel and its tech hub and universities see the innovation and advancement in biochemical technologies, medicine and a range of sciences that is happening in a place that, not long ago, was simply desert, as my hon. Friend says.

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30th October 2017

Jonathan Djanogly praises the great diplomatic skill of Lord Balfour in triggering the process that led to the creation of Israel, thus providing a strong, stable, democratic and non-sectarian ally for the UK in the heart of the notoriously unstable middle east.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

As we celebrate 100 years of the Balfour declaration, does the Foreign Secretary agree that this event can be regarded as an act of great diplomatic skill on the part of his illustrious predecessor, Lord Balfour, in so far as it triggered a process leading to the creation of Israel, thus providing a strong, stable, democratic and non-sectarian ally for the UK in the heart of the notoriously unstable middle east?

Boris Johnson

I agree totally with my hon. Friend. The Balfour declaration was an historic event that led to a giant political fact: the creation of the state of Israel, which I believe to be one of the most stunning political achievements of the 20th century. As I said, I do not think anybody in this House could seriously wish the undoing of that fact. Nobody looking at Israel—a democracy and a liberal, tolerant society in the middle east—could seriously wish away that achievement. We should celebrate the existence of the state of Israel—we certainly celebrate our relationship with the state of Israel here in this country—but we must recognise and accept that for others the fact of the Balfour declaration carries very different overtones. They remember it in a very different spirit, so it is important we mark this anniversary with sensitivity and balance.

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