'Everyone has a duty' to tackle rising antisemitism, says Keir Starmer

The Labour leader also pledged to increase co-operation with the CST if his party wins next year's general election


LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 8: Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom talks with others in the meeting on September 8, 2023 in London, England. Labour's six Metro Mayors and the Leader of the Labour Party met with candidates Richard Parker (West Mids) and Claire Ward (East Mids) ahead of Midlands Mayoral Elections due to take place next May. (Photo by Belinda Jiao/Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer has spoken of the need to “ramp up” work to combat antisemitic hate crimes in the UK.

The Labour leader reaffirmed his commitment to tackling anti-Jewish hatred while pledging to increase co-operation with the Community Security Trust (CST) and the government’s antisemitism adviser if his party wins next year’s general election.

Speaking during a visit to the Independent Jewish Day School in Hendon on Friday, Sir Keir praised the CST and Lord John Mann, stressing there should not be “any reduction” in engagement with either party under a Labour government.

His comments came after a CST report released in August showed a rise in anti-Jewish hate over the last ten years. Figures showed 223 incidents were recorded by the CST in the first half of 2013 compared with 803 in the first half of this year, though the true number is likely to be much higher.

The highest number of recorded cases during that period, 1,371, was seen in 2021, when hostilities intensified between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Reflecting on the rise in antisemitism, Sir Keir said: “I think if you look at any of the statistics on antisemitic crime incidents and hate crime in particular the figures do go in the wrong direction, and you get these spikes each time there’s an incident.

“It’s the duty of all of us to deal with that.”

Asked if he would continue to co-operate with the CST and the independent antisemitism adviser if Labour won the next general election, Sir Keir told Jewish News: ”We would not only continue but strengthen those roles.

However, he added: “We have got to win the general election first before we get the privilege of being in a position to do that extra work.”

Six months ago, Home Secretary Suella Braverman increased the Jewish Community Protective Security grant by £1 million, bringing the total for the period for 2023 to 2024 to £15m. The CST distributes money from this fund to schools, synagogues and other communal buildings to help pay for protective measures including security guards, CCTV and alarm systems.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, said at the time: “The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice.”

Despite making up less than 1 per cent of the UK population, Jews were the target of almost one quarter of all religiously motivated hate crimes recorded from 2021 to 2022.

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