UK Jewish leaders in emergency meeting with PM over surging antisemitism

Boris Johnson in move to provide reassurance and support for the community


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has convened an emergency meeting with Jewish leaders to provide reassurance and support for the community as antisemitism surges across the UK. The meeting followed yesterday's letter of support to the community from Priti Patel and Robert Jenrick.

The Chief Rabbi was present at No 10 in person, while the Board of Deputies, the JLC and the CST participated remotely, as well as Lord Mann and the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Condemning the spike in antisemitic incidents witnessed across the UK, Mr Johnson said: “Whatever the situation is in the Middle East, there is no excuse for the importing of prejudice to the streets of our country. In any form.

“The recent signs of antisemitism - such as the assault of Rabbi Goodwin, the disgusting parade of vehicles chanting hate speech through the streets of London, is intolerable and I take deep, deep exception.

“I condemn antisemitism in all its forms and I stand totally with our Jewish community. This is something that has always been the way, and often goes unsaid, but I feel it needs to be heard clearly.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis expressed his thanks to the PM for convening the meeting and reiterated how much of a global challenge the Covid-19 pandemic has been.

He said that he was “worried about the increase in antisemitism in the United Kingdom” and that “what we are seeing right now is unprecedented”. He added “the community is determined to stop it in its tracks and are encouraged and grateful for the Government’s help”.

It is understood that the CAA raised the issue of the Crown Prosecution Service, pointing out that while the police often did an excellent job in tracing offenders, the CPS too often refused to prosecute.

The JC also understands that a number of those present raised the issue of a full ban on Hamas in the UK. Currently, only the military wing is proscribed.

One of those present said: "The Prime Minister seemed very well briefed and understood all the issues - especially around Hamas."

The issue of British attendance at 'Durban 4' was raised by the JLC, with other communal representatives also urging the government to pull out of a conference designed to commemorate the anniversary of the "racist" Durban meeting.

Board president Marie van der Zyl also asked the government to call on social media companies to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and to request Ofcom to monitor firms' adherence to that standard. The CAA said it was important that the Online Harms Bill was introduced rapidly.

The PM pledged to work to strengthen interfaith dialogue and the ties between the government and all the religious communities of the UK.
Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism; Mark Gardner, Chief Executive of CST; Jonathan Goldstein JLC Chairman; Government antisemitism adviser Lord Mann; Alyth Synagogue’s Rabbi Levy; JLC Co-Chief Executive Claudia Mendoza; President of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations Rabbi Stern and President, Board of Deputies of British Jews Marie van der Zyl attended the meeting virtually.


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