August 1, 2010 Israel's president, Shimon Peres, has accused some British MPs of pandering to anti-Israel sentiment among their Muslim voters, claiming there is a "deeply pro-Arab" core in the UK establishment. In an interview with Jewish website Tablet, conducted by Israeli historian Benny Morris, Peres says: "There are several million Muslim voters [in the UK]. And for many members of parliament, that's the difference between getting elected and not getting elected." On Labour politicians, he said: "They think the Palestinians are the underdog. In their eyes, the Arabs are the underdog. Even though this is irrational." He offers the illustration of Israeli disengagement of Gaza as evidence of bias. "We evacuated 8,000 settlers, and it was very difficult It cost us $2.5bn in compensation. "We left the Gaza Strip completely. Why did they fire rockets at us? For years they fired rockets at us When they fired at us, the British didn't say a word." Peres's remarks chime with a deepening concern among Israeli politicians that opinion, particularly in Europe, is turning against the Jewish state. Last week, David Cameron described Gaza as a "prison camp" during a visit to Turkey, which some commentators interpreted as a hardening of an anti-Israel position in Britain. Peres, 86, also claimed there is more antisemitism in the UK than is acknowledged. "There is in England a saying that an antisemite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary." He added: "There has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment." He cited historical examples of Britain's failure to support Israeli interests, including abstention in the 1947 UN partition resolution, an arms embargo against Israel in the 1950s and a defence treaty with Jordan. "They always worked against us," he said. However, he conceded that there is support for Israel today on the British right. Yesterday Labour MP Denis MacShane, who chaired a parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism in 2005, said Peres was wrong. "While there has certainly been a growth of anti-semitic attacks in the UK and too many MPs and civil servants refuse to acknowledge the growth of neo antisemitism, I do not consider Britain to be an antisemitic nation any more than it is an Islamophobic nation, despite some ugly words and actions against both Jews and Muslims," he said. Mark Gardner, from the Community Security Trust, a charity that monitors antisemitism in the UK, said that although it was possible to "make a case" in support Peres's comments the UK government had worked hard to tackle the problem of antisemitism. "There is no doubt that statistically the number of antisemitic incidents is higher now than it was in the 1990s," he said. "However, the government is taking correct and proper measures to tackle this and address the concerns of the Jewish community." Peres is a veteran Israeli politician, who was first elected to the Knesset in 1959. As foreign minister, he won the Nobel peace prize in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for the Oslo accords. He served twice as prime minister, and was elected president in 2007.