What does Prime Minister Rishi Sunak mean for British Jews?

The first Hindu Prime Minister's views on Jews, Israel and antisemitism


As Rishi Sunak is poised to take office as the United Kingdom's first-ever Hindu Prime Minister, we take a look at his track record with Britain's Jewish community.

The ex-hedge fund manager has a strong relationship with Britain's Jewish community.

During his first leadership campaign this summer, Sunak told the Conservative Friends of Israel hustings that he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s “historic capital”. He agreed with Ms Truss there was a “very strong case” for relocating the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Richmond MP also told the audience that he was committed to the construction of the controversial Westminster Holocaust memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens, and vowed to get BDS restrictions on the legislative agenda.

He said at the event: “We should make sure that we support the CST, and it goes back to making sure that we get the memorial built because the best way to stop this is by educating people, and the more we can spread awareness and education at every part of our society and every generation, the closer we will be to eradicating this awful, awful thing.”

In an August interview with the JC, he described Israel as a “shining beacon of hope”. He also promised to increase spending on Jewish security organisations such as the Community Security Trust, expressing how he felt “horrified” by the need for security outside Jewish faith schools.

During his summer leadership bid, Mr Sunak made a campaign stop during his first leadership bid to St John's Wood synagogue in North London.

Michael Howard, the grandson of Holocaust survivors who led the Conservative Party from November 2003 to 2005, backed Mr Sunak's October leadership bid, writing in the Daily Mail newspaper that the ex-chancellor can "rescue the Tories like Harold Macmillan after Suez".

Mr Sunak has also spoken up about the threat of Iran, warning in August that the attack on author Salman Rushdie must function as a "wake-up call for the West", and urged “maximum pressure” sanctions on the Islamic Republic before considering any plans to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Sunak is the first Non-Christian Prime Minister of the UK, but not it's first ethnic minority. Benjamin Disraeli, who was ethnically Jewish, was raised a Christian and baptised before becoming Prime Minister in 1874.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, a broadcaster and Jewish news commentator, told Jewish Insider: that Sunak's Premiership would be of "enormous importance to Jews who can see someone from a minority, who has religious observance, as prime minister."

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