Thousands of UK children referred to transsexual clinic

Girls hugely outnumber boys in the gender clinic statistics

Originally published in The Christian Institute

Over two thousand children were referred to the NHS’ gender identity clinic in the United Kingdom in the past year, prompting fresh concerns that more and more young people are being pushed into transsexualism.

New statistics from the Tavistock and Portman trust showed children as young as four continue to be referred to its Gender Identity Development Service – as well as nearly 600 16-year-olds.

The figures are a 25% increase from the previous year, with girls outnumbering boys by more than two to one.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of parents’ group Transgender Trend, issued a warning over the new figures.

“Teenagers are being influenced by an online culture which celebrates medical transition as cool.

“Girls especially are being encouraged to identify as boys if they don’t fit a stereotype. All debate is shut down as transphobic.”

In total 2 356 under 18-year olds were referred to the service. The largest age group consisted of teenagers between 14 and 17, although 157 children under ten were also encouraged to go.

Dr Polly Carmichael, Gender Identity Development Service Director, said there was “no single explanation” for the rise.

However, she acknowledged the increase in public discussion about transsexualism.

Currently in order to be legally recognised as the opposite sex, individuals must live as that sex for two years and be medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

But the Government is currently considering changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which could include ‘self-declaration’.

Earlier this month transsexual people spoke out against the idea, saying that allowing people to change sex with an “over-the-counter style self-declaration” blurs the distinction between those who have had surgery, and those who have no intention of doing so.

They said it was problematic when male-bodied people “demand the rights afforded to women as a protected sex, including access to their private spaces”.




British group repent in Israel as war clouds hang over anniversary celebrations

A dark shadow of imminent war hangs over Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations, just as it had done at the nation’s re-birth in 1948.

President Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran hastened the prospect of the rogue state taking out its frustration on Israel for striking its military installations in Syria.

In an incident on Tuesday night, at least nine Iranian soldiers are reported to have been killed.1 And in the early hours of Thursday the Israeli Defense Force launched an unprecedented massive air strike destroying Iranian and Syrian targets in response to a barrage of rockets fired from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Also coinciding with what should have been a joyful birthday is an event recalling a very sad – indeed shameful – episode in Britain’s history.

At a special ceremony organised by Love Never Fails (an alliance of Christian groups supporting the Jewish state) and held yesterday in Atlit, near the port of Haifa, Israelis spoke of how they suffered at the time and UK representatives responded with expressions of sorrow for our failures both then and now.

Granted a League of Nations mandate to prepare a safe homeland for Jews, Britain instead severely restricted immigration just when it was needed most during the Nazi genocide.

And in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Britian shattered the hopes of traumatised survivors by turning their ships away or by herding them into detention camps. Some were even sent back to Germany where millions of their fellow Jews had been slaughtered.

Thousands of Jewish refugees were held in the Atlit Camp, interred behind barbed wire complete with watchtowers – and this in their own land, promised by Britain in 1917.

As part of a prepared declaration of sorrow, the UK delegation told their Jewish friends: “We grieve that [Britain’s policies] led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews who could have escaped Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ if the gates to their ancient homeland had been fully open.”

And they added: “We are deeply sorry that our nation caused indescribable distress to untold numbers of your people and their surviving families, and that as a nation we dared to stand against the purpose of Almighty God to restore you to Eretz (the land of) Israel.”

A particularly shocking incident – on July 18 1947 – involved an attack by British forces on a ship carrying 4 515 Holocaust survivors, spraying fuel and throwing smoke bombs in order to deter the immigrants from landing.
I have touched on this and many other aspects of Britain’s role with Israel in my new book, A Nation Reborn (Christian Publications International).

As Italian author Edda Fogarollo put it: “Quite apart from the suffering experienced by these exiles during the Nazi atrocities, they also had to face the humiliation of having hoped in vain for freedom as their dream turned into a nightmare. After seizing the ship, the British re-routed it back to Europe – to the former concentration camp of Poppendorf, near Hamburg, of all places!”2

One of our great callings as Gentile Christians is to bring comfort to God’s chosen people, who have experienced so much suffering at the hands of those who hate them, just as Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, was despised and rejected of men.

Like him, they were led like lambs to the slaughter during the Holocaust – and we too have blood on our hands, having played our part in causing them to suffer such terrible grief and horror. For that we must repent.

Yet out of the ashes – a valley of dry bones – rose a new nation reflecting something of the resurrection power of Christ. Surviving a series of wars against overwhelming odds to emerge as a world leader in hi-tech innovation and much else besides has been nothing short of miraculous. They are even first on the scene of major disasters to help other nations in distress while their doctors treat the wounded among their enemies.

And they have been so keen to live at peace with their neighbours that they have given up land to which they were legally entitled. But that hasn’t proved enough for Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, who have vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

However, God has not called us to join the UN-sponsored chorus of disapproval, but to “Comfort, comfort my people…” and tell them that “her sin has been paid for…” (Isaiah 40.1f)

Not only must we bless and support them, but we are especially charged to tell them that their sins have been paid for – in other words, that the Lord Jesus, whom we Christians serve, also died for them. We have the awesome privilege of sharing the good news that our beloved Christ is their Messiah, who came to seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

But a furious battle for truth rages on as belligerent rioters further inflame tensions on the Gaza border in the mistaken belief that they have been robbed of their land and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is forced to counter Iranian propaganda about their nuclear program.

Citing intelligence reports, he said Iran had lied about never having pursued nuclear weapons and had continued to preserve and expand its knowledge of the same even after signing the 2015 deal with global powers designed to curb Iranian capabilities.3

The Bible clearly speaks of such deceit, thus: “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies.” (Psalm 5.9)

All who desire to follow the truth – specifically manifested in Jesus Christ (John 14.6) – must surely see where the path leads.

1World Israel News, 9th May 2018
2Towards the Establishment of the State of Israel (Christians for Israel)
3JNN, 1st May 2018, quoting Reuters




Infrequent cannabis use strongly linked to psychosis

Infrequent cannabis use is strongly linked to psychosis, a new study finds.

Originally published in The Christian Institute

Smoking cannabis (dagga) as little as five times as a teenager can lead to psychosis in later life, new research has shown.

The study from Finland, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, adds to the evidence that indicates the drug can lead to poor mental health, and in some cases, suicide. The findings come amid reports that up to 94% of cannabis in parts of England is highly potent “skunk”.

Young people
Researchers at the University of Oulu said there is a heightened risk of psychosis among those who have smoked cannabis at least five times. Antti Mustonen said: “Our findings are in line with current views of heavy cannabis use, particularly when begun at an early age, being linked to an increased risk of psychosis. “Based on our results, it’s very important that we take notice of cannabis-using young people who report symptoms of psychosis.”

Danger
Last year, mother Janie Hamilton revealed how cannabis-induced schizophrenia contributed to the death of her son.
She now travels around schools to warn children about the dangers of smoking the potent drug. In recent years, research has increasingly shown the harmful side-effects of smoking cannabis. A landmark study in 2015 revealed that daily users of “skunk-like” cannabis were five times more likely to suffer from psychotic mental illness than those who never use the drug.




100 000 rally in Ireland to keep right to life for unborn

Originally published in LifeSiteNews

As many as 100 000 people attended a rally in Dublin to show their support to the continued right to life of the unborn in Ireland, organizers say.

According to the “Save the 8th” campaign, the March 10 All Ireland Rally for Life attracted the biggest crowd ever to express their wishes on the Irish abortion question. The Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution guarantees the right-to-life of the unborn child. The pro-abortion Irish government will be holding a referendum in late May in the hope of abolishing the amendment.

Spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain said, via a press release, that the government’s abortion proposal had woken a “sleeping giant” and the campaign to save Ireland from abortion now expected “a surge of volunteers” to work for a “No” vote in the referendum.

“These huge numbers are a rising of the people against the media and political elites and against the powerful international abortion industry who have poured millions into a campaign attacking our pro-life laws. Ireland is at a defining point in our history, and we are challenging the people to reject the abortion industry and to demand a better answer for mothers and babies,” she stated. “Abortion has no place in a compassionate and progressive society.”

The Rally for Life began in Dublin’s Parnell Square, where marchers from throughout the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland gathered before walking two kilometers along O’Connell Street to Merrion Square.

The crowds in Merrion Square welcomed a number of speakers including doctors, politicians, mothers and people with disabilities. Unborn babies diagnosed with disabilities will be particularly at risk if their constitutional rights are abolished.

Dr. Judy Ceannt, a medical doctor, told the Rally that the government wants to repeal the 8th so that they can make general practitioners provide abortion on demand for the first three months of an unborn baby’s life.

“They have not even consulted us doctors,” she said. “The basic law that governs our actions as doctors is first ‘do no harm.’ We are not meant to intentionally kill or harm any patient, least of all the most helpless, the unborn baby.  The government has no right to impose this on us.”

Another doctor, Maire Neasta Nic Gearailt, showed the crowd a €100 voucher for eyeglasses which she said would be sent to Senator Catherine Noone. Noone, the Irish government’s abortion committee chairwoman, had said she “could not find” any doctors who favored keeping the 8th amendment.

Charlie Fien, a Down syndrome activist also spoke to the Rally. Fien won worldwide fame in March 2017 when she testified to the UN on behalf of babies with Down syndrome, asserting that she was not a monster and begging that people like her not be eradicated from the world.

One mother testified to her feelings of anguish after having her baby aborted abroad. According to the UK’s Catholic Herald, Bernadette Goulding told the crowds gathering  in Parnell Square, “When I walked into that abortion facility that day, though I didn’t know it, my baby’s heart was beating under my own—my child was alive, and when I left, my baby’s heart was stopped, my baby was dead.”




UK bishop issues 10 commandments for artificial intelligence

Originally published in The Christian Post

A top bishop in the Church of England issued his “Ten Commandments of artificial intelligence,” during a major policy debate in London last week, based on the importance of trust and ethics in the evolving technology.

The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Lord Bishop of Oxford who is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on artificial intelligence, spoke last week at the Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar, artificial intelligence and Robotics: Innovation, Funding and Policy Priorities.

Croft came up with a 10-point plan following a debate on trust, ethics, and cybersecurity, the Internet of Business website reported, which he presented before government, academics and business representatives from around the world.

The so-called “10 Commandments of AI” begin with the call for AI to be “designed for all, and benefit humanity.”

“AI should operate on principles of transparency and fairness, and be well signposted,” the list continues.

“AI should not be used to transgress the data rights and privacy of individuals, families, or communities.”

Next, it calls for the application of AI to be aimed at reducing “inequality of wealth, health, and opportunity.”

“AI should not be used for criminal intent, nor to subvert the values of our democracy, nor truth, nor courtesy in public discourse,” the fifth commandment reads.

“The primary purpose of AI should be to enhance and augment, rather than replace, human labor and creativity,” positions the sixth.

“All citizens have the right to be adequately educated to flourish mentally, emotionally, and economically in a digital and artificially intelligent world,” states the seventh.

The eight commandment insists that AI “should never be developed or deployed separately from consideration of the ethical consequences of its applications.”

The ninth commandment reads: “The autonomous power to hurt or destroy should never be vested in artificial intelligence.”

Finally, the 10th commandments calls on governments to ensure “that the best research and application of AI is directed toward the most urgent problems facing humanity.”

Croft, who writes for a blog on the CofE website, has talked about how AI is affecting people’s lives on a number of occasions in the past.

He wrote in a blog post last year that some innovations, such as robot vacuum cleaners that make maps of rooms using onboard cameras, raise important questions.

“Personal boundaries and personal privacy matter. They are an essential part of our human identity and knowing who we are — and we are far more than consumers. This matters for all of us — but especially the young and the vulnerable. New technology means regulation on data protection needs to keep pace,” the bishop warned at the time.

“We need a greater level of education about AI and what it can do and is doing at every level in society — including schools. The technology can bring significant benefits, but it can also disrupt our lives,” he added.

Fabrice Jotterand, a professor of Swiss nationality who teaches at a Wisconsin medical school and is a renowned scholar in neuroethics, told The Christian Post in an interview that many Christians don’t even know that AI technology is already in their lives.

“People think it is science fiction, it’s something of the future, or it’s in the movies. And I think that there is a kind of naiveté about these technologies,” Jotterand said.

“We shouldn’t say all technology, all AI, is necessarily inherently bad,” he added, warning that it should not be confused with the concept of transhumanism, which he said is another issue altogether.




UK orthodox Jew puts faith in Jesus


Orthodox Jew David Rose became a follower of Jesus after meeting a believer through Facebook. Family and friends turned on him, and he was barred from attending his synagogue, but he nevertheless rejoices in a personal relationship with the living God for the first time in his life.

He has since married his Facebook friend Christine, and also been baptised, both in the same church and in the traditional Jewish way – underneath a chuppah (canopy) for their wedding and in the form of a mikvah (a ritual bath taken before entering the Temple) for his baptism.

From the tribe of Levi, who are set apart for holy service to God, David (whose Hebrew name is Dovid Yonah ben Moshe Halevi) was nurtured in a North-West London Jewish community, observing the rituals and feasts and regularly attending synagogue.

It was through a Facebook group he joined in 2015 that he eventually met Christine the following year when David was struggling with his Jewish faith and its demands. He very much wanted to do something for God, and felt he should move to Bournemouth on the South Coast.

David and Christine Rose.

“As well as questioning my beliefs, I was into a lot of bad and ungodly things, which I knew were not pleasing to God,” he explained.

Christine, meanwhile, told him she was a born-again Christian who had invited Jesus into her life some 30 years earlier and David became jealous of her apparent direct communication with God.

According to the Scriptures (Romans 11.11 & Romans 10.19 quoting Deuteronomy 32.21), this is something Jews will experience on meeting Gentile believers with a confident faith.

Connection with God
“I thought it should be me, a Jew from the priestly tribe of Levi, who should be having this connection with God. So I told her that I too wanted whatever it was that she had.”

So her son Richard, a church elder, prayed with him and he was put in touch with Rev Ralph Goldenberg, a fellow Jew and retired Church of England vicar.

He subsequently attended a Christmas Eve service (which, in 2016, happened to coincide with the Jewish festival of Chanukah) at St Mary’s, Ferndown, where Ralph was once churchwarden.

“I was nervous because I had been told all my life that if I went into a church I would be struck down by lightning. And I was also worried about what people might think of me wearing a kippah (skull cap). But I was welcomed wholeheartedly and one lady even wished me a ‘Happy Hanukkah’.

“After taking communion, and being nudged by Christine not to drink all the wine (which is the Jewish custom for feasts), I returned to my seat and began to feel strange. Suddenly I felt a ‘whoosh’ of cool air go right through me – and I knew I had received the Holy Spirit!

“My life has since turned around. I have been delivered from demons, and have had dreams, visions and messages from Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). God is taking me on a journey, and I have complete faith and confidence in Him.

“But because of my newfound faith, I am no longer welcome at the synagogue I was attending. Worse still, three of my children will have nothing further to do with me and old friends have also disowned me.

“But I know that Yeshua is the Son of God, and He has promised to be my support and strength.”

David was baptised at St Mary’s in October last year and returned to the church to marry Christine within a week.

“Last year was unbelievably eventful, and it turned my life around big time,” he enthused.

Points to Messiah
Familiar as he is with the Jewish Tenach (what Christians call the Old Testament), David has now discovered how it all points to the role of the coming Messiah, perfectly fulfilled in Yeshua.

For example, the Passover lamb of Exodus, whose blood protected the Israelites and set them free from slavery in Egypt, foreshadowed the death on a cross of Jesus, the ultimate Passover lamb, as did the bronze serpent Moses raised on a pole for those suffering snakebite – foreshadowing the healing of our sins at the cross by Jesus, for “by his wounds we are healed”  — Isaiah 53.5.

Another such sign (see Luke 11.29-32) is the prophet Jonah, who was in the belly of a whale for three days before being spewed up on the beach. As with Jonah, Jesus died and was buried before being raised to life after three days.
David now shares his newfound love for Yeshua both within church congregations, which helps them better appreciate the roots of their faith, as well as with other Jews searching for the truth.




Nigerian pastor acquitted of hate speech in UK

Pastor Oluwole Ilesanmi has been acquitted of hate speech. (PHOTO: Twitter)

Originally published in Christian Concern

A Christian street preacher has been acquitted of using ‘threatening and abusive language’ whilst preaching in Wood Green, London.

Pastor Oluwole Ilesanmi, aged 62, had been charged concerning a sermon that he preached on June 24 2017, when a Muslim and two political activists pressed charges when he criticised the Quran. Although he was charged by the police with an ‘Islamophobic’ hate crime, the Crown Prosecution Service, having considered written representations from Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips, decided to discontinue the charge prior to trial.

Pastor Oluwole Ilesanmi of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, UK, was preaching on High Road in Wood Green. During his sermon he explained that there was a connection between terrorism and what is written in the text of the Quran.

A number of false allegations were made against the missionary, in an effort to silence Oluwole. Two white non-Muslim political activists approached and accused him of preaching lies, and of being Islamophobic. He responded that the Bible speaks the only truth and that people need to give their lives to the Lord Jesus.

Oluwole was charged by police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act for using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated.

Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips argued in written submissions to the CPS that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years. The CPS accepted these submissions and dropped the case.

Following the case, Oluwole said:

“I am in the United Kingdom to bring back the true message of the gospel that Christians many years ago brought to Nigeria. I have seen first-hand what sadly many Christians have suffered in Nigeria.

It is ironic that I was accused of exactly what the Muslims are doing in my country and so many other countries around the world. When will the UK wake up and realise that submission to Islam is not the answer, that only the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to the UK’s problems?

I was interviewed, charged and put on trial for being a hate preacher. I have never been such a person, I have only preached about the love of Jesus. But the most loving thing that a preacher can do is tell people the truth not just about the gospel but also about false religions, such as Islam. I want to thank the Christian Legal Centre for the help and support and their free legal counsel.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said:

“We are proud to represent street preachers from all over the world who sadly are being arrested and put on trial more and more frequently. Again, the police simply do not appear to know or understand about the legal freedoms that street preachers have in the UK. We would urge the police to educate their officers so that innocent Christians don’t continue to be arrested.”




‘My girl is here today because pro-lifers spoke out’

“I never wanted to go through with an abortion but I felt a lot of pressure”, the anonymous mother said (PHOTO: File photo).

Originally published in The Christian Institute

A woman decided against going through with an abortion because of the gentle presence of pro-lifers outside a Marie Stopes facility, British MPs have heard.

The woman, known only as Kate, said her young daughter is an “amazing, perfect little girl” who would not be alive if the advocates for the unborn had not been there.

Sir Edward Leigh MP told politicians about the woman’s story during a debate on buffer zones.’, which would prevent protests outside abortion centres.

‘Seething’
Leading the Westminster Hall discussion, shadow Home Office minister Rupa Huq said pro-lifers’ presence outside the Marie Stopes centre in Ealing has “had me seething with rage since the ’90s”.

She thanked major abortion giants BPAS and Marie Stopes at the beginning of her speech, claimed the issue was about women merely accessing “healthcare”, and falsely said it was “just not the case” that children in the womb at 24 weeks have fingernails.

Although she conceded campaigners had the right to protest, she said they should not do so near abortion facilities, and called for a “national answer to the problem”.

Sir Edward said it was his duty “to offer another point of view”.

Pressure
He described one pro-lifer outside an abortion centre as “the kindest, most gentle person that one could possibly consider”. She was simply offering a different perspective on the value of the unborn life.

Leigh went on to give Kate’s testimony: “I never wanted to go through with an abortion but I felt a lot of pressure from people around me who offered it as a no brainer solution.

“On the way into the clinic at the Marie Stopes clinic at Ealing I was offered a leaflet by a woman who I spoke to briefly. She just told me she was there if I needed her.”

Support
Kate continued by explaining how she left the abortion centre and spoke to the pro-life woman again who, “offered any support I needed to keep my baby”.

“I didn’t find any aggression from the people offering support outside the Ealing clinic at all”, Kate added.

“I had my baby who is now three and a half years old. She’s an amazing, perfect little girl and the love of my life.

“I want MPs here today calling to introduce buffer zones to realise that she would not be alive today if they had their way,” she concluded.

Misogynistic
Last month MPs wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd about buffer zones, claiming that trying to change a woman’s mind on abortion amounts to “misogynistic” abuse.

Opposing the concept of buffer zones, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has said: “This isn’t about protecting women – if there was any harassment by pro-lifers happening outside clinics, they would be arrested under existing legislation. Moves like this simply seek to shut down any opposition to abortion.”




British missionary killed in Nigeria, three others freed

Delta State is in the south of Nigeria and is known as ‘the big heart of the nation’.(PHOTO:Christian Today via Wikipedia)

Originally published in Christian Today

One of four British missionaries kidnapped in Nigeria three weeks ago has been killed, according to the British Foreign Office, but the other three have been released.

Ian Squire was killed following the kidnap on October 14. However, David and Shirley Donovan and Alanna Carson have all returned home safely.

A statement from their families reported by the Daily Telegraph said: “We are grateful for the support received by the British High Commission, and help from the Nigerian authorities in negotiating their release. We are delighted and relieved that Alanna, David and Shirley have returned home safely. Our thoughts are now with the family and friends of Ian as we come to terms with his sad death.”

The four were taken in a remote part of Delta state, where they were delivering aid to villages with a medical charity called New Foundations.

The area has a history of separatist movements and has suffered a spate of kidnappings recently linked to the central government’s crackdown on Islamist milita.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria and high-profile individuals and Westerners are often the target. A number of foreigners have, in the last few years, been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – the country’s economic mainstay.

Chief Theo Fakama, from the local Enukorowa community, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that villagers were saddened by the kidnapping because the victims had ‘brought succour to residents of the community for the past three years’.




Theresa May emphatically rejects call to apologise for Balfour Declaration

British Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing street to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in London on November 2 (PHOTO: Daniel Leal-Olivas )

Originally published in Times of Israel

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said she would “absolutely not” apologise for the 1917 Balfour Declaration which paved the way for the establishment of the “most extraordinary” State of Israel, while noting that the document’s vision of Jewish-Arab coexistence remained “unfinished business.”

In a speech marking the centenary of the declaration, May was glowing in her praise of the Jewish state, describing it as a “true start-up nation” and a “a symbol of openness, as a thriving democracy; and a beacon to the world in upholding the rights of women and members of the LGBT community.”

The address — which was closed to the press, but released in a transcript — also saw May come out strongly against the boycott movement against Israel, while linking anti-Israel sentiment to a “new and pernicious form of anti-Semitism.”

“We are proud of our pioneering role in the creation of the State of Israel,” May told a London dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the declaration.

Landmark document
Balfour’s landmark document “was a letter that remains very sensitive for many people today – but it was not ignorant of those sensitivities,” May said, emphasising its explicit call to uphold the civil rights of all the non-Jewish communities residing in the country.

“So when some people suggest we should apologise for this letter, I say absolutely not,” she asserted.

Signed on November 2 1917 by the UK’s then foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, the declaration announced his government’s intention to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in the Land of Israel.

It was seen as giving the Zionist movement official recognition and backing on the part of a major power, on the eve of the British conquest of the then-Ottoman territory of Palestine.

In recent weeks, the Palestinians have vehemently protested the British government’s decision to mark the Balfour Declaration with pride, calling on London to apologize for the document and recognize a Palestinian state.

Writing in the British daily The Guardian on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas argued that the Balfour Declaration was responsible for setting off a century of tragic events for the Palestinians. He called on Britain to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, saying such a move would “go some way towards fulfilling the political rights of the Palestinian people.”

In her address, the British prime minister also noted that “sadly, Balfour remains unfinished business – as his fundamental vision of peaceful co-existence has not yet been fulfilled.” She voiced support for a two-state solution, underlining that the Israelis and Palestinians would need to make compromises, on settlements and incitement, respectively.

Compromises
“There will need to be compromises from each side if we are to have a realistic chance of achieving this goal — including an end to the building of new settlements and an end to Palestinian incitement too,” she said.

“But as we work together towards Balfour’s vision of a peaceful co-existence we must be equally clear that there can never be any excuses for boycotts, divestment or sanctions: they are unacceptable and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to them,” the British prime minister continued.

“Neither can there ever be any excuse for anti-Semitism in any form… And yes, this means recognizing that there is today a new and pernicious form of anti-Semitism which uses criticism of the actions of the Israeli government as a despicable justification for questioning the very right of Israel to exist,” she said. “This is abhorrent and we will not stand for it.”

“So let me be clear. Criticizing the actions of Israel is never – and can never be – an excuse for questioning Israel’s right to exist, any more than criticizing the actions of Britain could be an excuse for questioning our right to exist,” she said.

May also offered staunch support for Israel’s security, stressing that “it is only when you witness Israel’s vulnerability that you truly understand the constant danger Israelis face – as I saw on my visit in 2014, when the bodies of the murdered teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were discovered.”

Right to defend
“So I am clear that we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself,” she added.

Earlier in the day, May said the UK was “proud” of its role in Israel’s creation but added that London is approaching the Balfour centennial with sensitivity due to Palestinian grievances, noting Israeli settlements were a “barrier” to peace.

In London, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Thursday called on the Palestinians to come to terms with Israel’s existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people. A Palestinian acknowledgement of that fact, he said at the start of a meeting with his British counterpart May, would be a big step toward peace.