Anti-Semitism will not be allowed to ‘grow and fester’ in the UK, says PM

·2-min read

The Prime Minister has insisted that anti-Semitism will not be allowed to “grow and fester” in the UK amid a rise in hate crime incidents following renewed conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Boris Johnson was questioned by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons on Wednesday about what action could be taken to support Jewish communities.

He replied: “I share his horror at the outbreak of anti-Semitic incidents and the Government has conveyed that message loud and clear to those who are responsible for enforcing the law against hate crime of that kind.

“But obviously we will continue to work and to support the Jewish community in any way that we can – particularly working with the Community Safety Trust (CST) who do an absolutely outstanding job in my view.

“But also showing as a country, as a society, that we will call this out at every stage. We will not let it take root, we will not allow it to grow and fester.”

The CST, which gathers reports of anti-Semitic incidents, said there were 116 recorded in the 11-day period from May 8, compared to 19 in the 11 days before May 8, an increase of around six times.

Of the 116 reports, 34 were online abuse, 82 were offline and mainly verbal abuse, although four were violent.

Recent incidents dealt with by the police include an attack on Rabbi Rafi Goodwin near his synagogue in north London for which two men have been charged.

Separately, four men were arrested and bailed after passengers in a convoy of cars covered with Palestinian flags were heard to use offensive language and make threats against Jewish people in St John’s Wood on Sunday.

Dave Rich from CST said: “It is a depressingly familiar pattern that anti-Semitism rises whenever Israel is at war, but this does not make it any less disgraceful that British Jews are being threatened, harassed and abused.

“The level of anger and hate that is directed at Israel always spills over into anti-Semitism at times like this and yet the people stoking this anger, online and on the streets, never take responsibility for this particular consequence.”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism released a statement on Wednesday stressing that Jewish people bore “no more responsibility for Israeli government actions than any Christian group in Britain for the decisions of our own government”.

It called for “constant vigilance against anti-Semitism”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick sought to reassure the Jewish community in an open letter published in the Jewish Chronicle.

Setting out Government efforts to tackle anti-Semitism, they said: “The existence of anti-Semitism in modern Britain, and the spike in anti-Semitic incidents that we have witnessed in recent days, should be felt by all as a stain on the UK.”

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