Former British prime minister Boris Johnson, visiting Israel, says he is here “to show my support, my solidarity, with the people of Israel after that appalling attack” on October 7, “the worst atrocity, the worst massacre of Jewish people, that we’ve seen since the Second World War.”
Speaking to Channel 12 news, he says he also wants to highlight that “since that appalling massacre of October 7, you’re seeing a kind of fog descend, a moral fog, and I just want to remind people of the absolute barbarism of what took place
and to make it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself.”
His key point, he says, is that “there can be no moral equivalence between the terrorism of Hamas and the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces.”
Asked about the massive protests in the UK in support of Hamas and condemning Israel, Johnson replies: “My message is: look at the facts. Look at what happened to those poor innocent people — those people in the kibbutz, those people at the music festival. They were entirely blameless civilian targets.”
He says he talked this morning to IDF soldiers, “and it was so clear that they are trained to avoid civilian targets, they’re trained to do everything they can to minimize innocent loss of life, minimize suffering. It is the exact opposite of the objectives of the Hamas terrorists.”
“I would say to everybody marching across the world right now, supposedly in support of ‘free Palestine,’ in fact what they are doing, whether they intend it or not, is condoning the brutality and the murder that was conducted by those Hamas terrorists — and which, by the way, they would do again,” says Johnson.
“And that is why it is so important that Israel is given the time and the space to do what it needs to do — to catch the murderers and to make sure that they can’t do it again.”
Asked about rising antisemitism in the UK, with many Jews feeling unsafe walking the streets of London, Johnson notes that he used to be the mayor of London “and it’s one of the safest big cities in the world.”
“But I don’t think that we should tolerate antisemitism. I don’t think that we should tolerate inflammatory language, incitement to persecution of any group, in our city and in our country.”
He goes on: “I want people also to understand: Antisemitism is like a spore of a virus. The tragic truth is that for centuries it lurks beneath the floorboards — in Western Europe, across the world.” He says, “People are misled, misguided into expressing this kind of nonsense.”
Stresses Johnson: I want to… try to draw the contrast between what I see as Israel, a decent, civilized democracy that has been cruelly and barbarically attacked, trying to deal with the immense moral complexities that throws up… and the savagery of the Hamas terrorists. I just think the world needs to focus on that.”
Asked whether October 7 and the protests in support of Hamas mark a wake-up call for the UK and Europe, Johnson says: “It shows we can never be complacent about antisemitism. It shows we’ve got to be vigilant. But I’m afraid it also shows that Hamas has become, perhaps always was, an ISIS-like death cult. And it is going to require a security solution.
“Everybody can see how difficult it is going to be for the IDF, the Israeli security forces, to deal with this on the ground. I’m afraid tragic mistakes are going to be made. But the challenge has been placed by Hamas. They’ve caused, I’m afraid, an appalling moral problem for the Israeli forces.”