The residence of the British prime minister in London, 10 Downing Street, has seen turmoil during
the last few years.
The third prime minister to step down since 2019 was Liz Truss, who held the position for just over six weeks.
But there have been some constants among the Conservative Party leaders, including their shared strong ties to the majority of British Jews and right-leaning foreign policies that are vehemently pro-Israel and belligerent toward the country’s adversaries in the area.
After being chosen by his party on Monday, former finance secretary and the first person of color to hold the position in the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, continues the tradition.
Sunak has even expressed a willingness to talk about transferring the Israeli embassy from London to Jerusalem, a proposal that has always been opposed by members of the Conservative Party and across the political spectrum in the U.K.
He stated there is a “powerful argument” for the action, which would suggest that the U.K. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in August when speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel event.
Although the administration of former President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and encouraged other nations to do the same, a large portion of the international foreign policy establishment disagrees, arguing that the change thwarts the eventual creation of a Palestinian state and disrupts the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Sunak acknowledged that he would encounter fierce resistance to the embassy move both within and outside his own party.
Sunak will probably prioritize addressing domestic issues in the early stages of his presidency after Truss’ economic policies exacerbated an inflation situation that was already spiraling out of control.
Sunak appears to be a member of a new generation of Conservative Party leaders who have demonstrated a willingness to break from the long-standing foreign policy of the monarchy, which is commonly believed to support keeping Israel at a distance so as not to antagonize the Arab World.
In 2018, Prince William ended what was considered a decades-long informal ban on senior members of the British Royal House is making official visits to Israel.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle of London in August, Sunak, a former hedge fund manager who has amassed a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars with his wife (the daughter of the founder of the Indian IT giant Infosys), refuted claims that Israel is an apartheid state, as several human rights organizations have called it in recent years.
“The apartheid claim is not only factually incorrect but quite frankly offensive. Israel is not perfect like any nation, but it is a vibrant multi-ethnic democracy with a free press and the rule of law. It stands as a shining beacon of hope in a region of autocracies and religious extremists,” Sunak said.