England is anti-Jewish, claims Israeli president
ISRAEL'S president has accused the English of being anti-Semitic and claimed that MPs pander to Muslim voters.
Shimon Peres, 87, said England was "deeply pro-Arab" and "anti-Israeli", adding: "They always worked against us." In an interview on a Jewish website, he went on to say: "There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary." His remarks provoked anger from senior MPs and Jewish leaders who said he had "got it wrong".
But other groups backed Mr Peres and said the number of anti-Semitic incidents had risen in Britain in recent years.
Mr Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize-winner who was awarded an honorary knighthood in 2008, said that England's attitude towards Jews was Israel's "next big problem".
He said: "There are several million Muslim voters, and for many Members of Parliament, that's the difference between getting elected and not getting elected," he said.
"And in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment. They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s. They always worked against us. They think the Arabs are the underdogs." By contrast, relations with Germany, France and Italy were "pretty good".