Gerald Ronson's speech to the CST dinner

Prime Minister, Chief Rabbi, Rabbonim, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we come to the end of our evening together. This is where I ask each and every one of you to play your part in meeting the challenges that face all of us.

The Prime Minister has taken his share of the responsibility, leading from the front. Do not, for one minute, underestimate how privileged we are to have him with us this evening. Thank you Prime Minister
This is not just about the Prime Minister. This is a challenge that faces each and every one of us; and we all have to take our share of responsibility also.

And I promise that I, and CST, will not hide from the challenge. We will also lead from the front, enabling the Jewish community to keep playing its part in challenging extremism, wherever it comes from, and working with Police, and politicians of all parties, and good people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, in defence of our common values of decency, freedom and democracy.

I have a reputation for getting down to tachlis; and I demand the same focus from CST

Gerald Ronson

Those of you who are Jewish will be familiar with the word ‘tachlis’. It is a Yiddish expression that, like all the best Yiddish expressions, does not translate well into English – but it means to get down to business, to address the bottom line, to define your goal and go straight to it.

As some of you might know, I have a reputation for getting down to tachlis; and I demand the same focus from CST. As you have seen in this evening’s video, Michael Gove got down to tachlis when he announced £2 million of funding for security guards at voluntary aided Jewish schools. That was a concrete expression of Government support for our community in these very difficult times. That was tachlis.

The Police, they deal with tachlis every single day.

The Police are not interested in time wasters and poseurs; they work in the closest possible way with CST. Our partnership with officers and forces throughout the country shows the focus and the discipline that runs through CST, from my fellow trustees all the way to our 60 full time staff and to every single one of our 3,000 volunteers across Britain.

The security challenge is obvious. It needs to be met with guards, with fencing, with CCTV cameras.

It needs training and professional oversight. If our community wants to hold a rally in Trafalgar Square, or build a new school, or a new synagogue, or a new old age home, then those things need to have security built in and CST will always be there. But the tachlis is that we need the money to do it, and that money needs to come from our supporters in this room tonight.

The political challenge is equally obvious, but the solutions are much harder to find. The answers lie with all politicians, from all of the political parties and that is why we have so many MPs, Ministers and Shadow Ministers with us here this evening. Think tanks and leading commentators are also with us tonight, because the same challenge faces us all.

The tachlis is to define and to defend our common values; and that is also part of CST’s mission. It is less public than our security work, but it is a continuous process and there are many MPs here from each of the political parties who will readily testify to the expertise and the value that CST brings to these discussions and policies.

The new Hate Crimes Guide publication, that we launched here tonight with The Home Office is also part of that process. For decades, the Jewish community has been in the front line; and now, we have the opportunity to use our hard lessons to help build a better Britain – and that also, is tachlis, and that also, takes money.

I stood before you last year and said that I was angry about antisemitism, but that I was determined that our Jewish community should be able to celebrate its Jewish life to the full.

Prime Minister and honoured guests, we have a wonderful Jewish community. Our schools, our synagogues and our cultural centres are full. And, both as individuals and as a community, we are determined to fully contribute to British society.

The tachlis is that CST is here for one reason and one reason only – to enable the Jewish community to go about its business in peace and safety. To enable parents to wave their children off to school or university without worrying about their safety. To allow our synagogues, our old age homes, our cultural centres, to be confident and secure in their Jewishness and in their Britishness.

Please take your share of responsibility by helping CST in its mission. Thank you.

Last updated: 4:40pm, March 3 2011