Baron David de Rothschild warns over terrorism and internet hate


Baron David de Rothschild has warned about the threat of terrorism and spread of hate messages on the internet.

Speaking to a 280-strong audience at the UJIA charity’s Yom Ha’atzmaut business breakfast on Thursday, the banker and senior figure in the French Jewish community warned about the rise of people engaging in terrorist activities in Western countries.

“It is horrendous,” he said. “Terrorist threat is at the forefront of many countries and homegrown terrorism increases the risk to Jewish communities everywhere.”

He added: “There are downsides to the internet.

“Some websites are dangerous for us.”

The chairman of the World Jewish Congress Governing Board, Baron de Rothschild went on to distinguish between “good aliyah and bad aliyah”.

A former board member of the Jewish Agency, he said that an increasing number of French Jews had moved to Israel as a result of a steep rise in antisemitism.

He said: “People are suffering in the suburbs. Mothers do not want to send their sons to school wearing a kippah.

“There is army or police in the front of Jewish schools and at every Jewish site in France.”

The fear had fuelled the increase in French oleh, he said.

“To make aliyah in those circumstances is not a recipe for happiness,” he said.

Baron de Rothschild said he also wanted to witness “peace in the Middle East” before he dies.

Baron de Rothschild, 72, was born in New York City after his family fled the Nazi occupation of France during the Second World War. He is the descendent of Baron James de Rothschild, who established a bank in Paris in 1812.

He sits on the boards of De Beers, Casino, La Compagnie Financière Saint-Honoré and Compagnie Financière Martin Maurel. He is chairman of the Foundation for the Memory of Shoah and Commander of the Legion d’Honneur.

A father of four, he is married to Italian Princess Olimpia Aldobrandini. They live in Normandy at Château Reux in northern France.

Sporting a blue and white shirt at the Park Lane hotel event in central London, he told guests that it was “a genuine pleasure and privilege” to attend.

The chairman of the Rothschild Group also spoke about a range of national issues, including securing “bigger stability in the banking system” and his belief that “we are far from seeing peace between Russia and the Ukraine”.

He called on the UK government to not leave the European Union. “Your country will regret it over time and the EU will lose out a lot,” he said.

The event raised £150,000 for the UK Jewish charity.

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