‘Woke’ London is the most antisemitic capital city in Europe says Israel’s diaspora minister

Amichai Chikli also called on the UK to prevent radicalisation in mosques and schools


Israeli minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli speaks at a Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ??????

London has been engulfed by "wokeism" and has become the most anti-Semitic capital in Europe, Israel’s diaspora and anti-Semitism minister claimed this week.

Addressing visiting European journalists from the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany on Wednesday, Minister Amichai Chikli warned British leaders they faced an expansion of extremism among a “radicalised Islamist” fringe. He also asserted that open immigration in the UK and elsewhere in Europe was allowing extremism to increase its malign influence.

Chikli - a Likud politician whose family emigrated to Israel from Tunisia and who speaks fluent Arabic -- urged Britain and the rest of Europe to cut back on immigration from Muslim countries.

The UK should also, he said, take steps to prevent Muslims from being radicalised inside mosques and schools.

“If you think that anyone who is coming now from Algeria or Iraq or Syria can be part of Western liberal society just by crossing the border – you need to understand that it is not that simple,” he said. “It is extremely dangerous for Western countries to have this approach. Many organisations can take advantage of it.”

He also said there needed to be more awareness of the dangers. “What is happening in the mosques? In the schools?" He asked.

Chikli said most of the Muslim population in Britain "have nothing to do with hardline Islamism". But, he said, relatively small numbers are being radicalised and recruited, and this, he said, would have "serious consequences”.

He described the extent of anti-Semitism across Western nations as "the worst since the 1930s". That was partly due to an amalgamation of hardline Islamic groups working in cahoots with radical hard-Left elements, Chikli told a press conference of European journalists in Jerusalem.

"What is happening in Britain is terrifying." he quoted the late Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks as saying: "What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews".

Chikli added that people who spoke Hebrew on the Underground "might get hit. And this is the reality for Jews in Europe".

Lamenting the anti-Semitism he had been told about in London, he said London is no longer a safe place for Jews.

"Today in the UK, Jews are hiding their yarmulkes and their Magen Davids."

As for Britain's own actions, he felt hardliners should be dealt with much more firmly if and when they spouted hatred.

“I am worried for Britain as a beacon of light and democracy as it was. This [Britain] is a centre of Western civilisation – the country of the Magna Carta and one of the leading democracies of the West. It has a rich legacy of freedom of speech, of human rights. But it seems what is happening now in Britain is that freedom of speech [in battling Muslim extremism] no longer exists.”

Last year, Chikli caused some British Jews to call for a boycott of his trip to London, after comments calling the Tel Aviv pride parade ‘vulgar.

He also suggested that the British authorities ban Al Jazeera which he said spouted anti-Western and pro-extremist ideologies.

“Even the statue of Churchill needs its own security," Chikli added.

He said Israel's enemies also posed a threat to Western societies. “Our enemies are Europe’s enemies. Our enemies are the enemies of Western civilisation.”

Much of his vitriol though was directed at Spain, whose prime minister Pedro Sanchez he described as an antisemite and told the Spanish journalists present to send him "my regards".

Chikli said he considered the current wave of anti-Semitism as part of an unremitting attack on the legitimacy of a Jewish State. Its enemies, he said, were employing the "idiotic critical race theory" infecting universities and beyond, to paint Israel as a white, settler State deserving elimination.

Speaking to reporters from the Europe Israel Press Association at a government venue in Jerusalem, Chikli also had words of criticism for Israel's closest and most powerfully ally, the United States. He said President Joe Biden had caved in to “political pressure” evidenced by his increasingly critical remarks and threats directed at Israel's military actions inside the Gaza Strip.

Turning to the 'Day After' scenario, Chikli said Gaza could be reconstructed but Israel and the West should block any aid or involvement coming to the Strip from Qatar and Turkey, "otherwise we pave the way for a new Hamas, perhaps with a different name, to emerge in time". The reconstruction, he said, should be funded and administered by the moderate Gulf States including Saudi Arabia, and by Western donors.

He warned that Qatar is "buying up" universities, politicians and football clubs, in its efforts to " whitewash itself".. The oil- and gas-rich emirate that had housed and bankrolled Hamas was an "enemy of Western civilisation" and "far more sophisticated than Iran" in its infiltration of the West. "It is a major mistake and a major lack of understanding of the the true nature" of what he called a "family-run entity"..

He also expressed doubts about US claims that the creation of a Palestinian state was a precondition for the Saudis recognising and normalising their relationship with Israel. "They have their own policies", he said, that were not necessarily posited on also achieving full statehood for the Palestinians.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive