In response to a request from the Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac Herzog—which called on 30 European heads of state, demanding that Jews be protected within their countries—British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged the anti-Semitic concerns within the UK and vowed to fight it.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt support for all Jewish communities in the United Kingdom and around the world. Please be assured of my resolute support for all aspects of Jewish life,” Johnson stated. “I completely agree that we need to do more to stamp this out and better protect our Jewish friends and neighbors. The safety of Jewish people is a top priority for the UK Government.”
Johnson went on to outline the steps his government is taking to eradicate antisemitism and ensure the safety of Jewish communities in the UK: “The Government has recently doubled spending on security for places of worship to £1.6 million, and continues to invest in initiatives to drive understanding and tolerance through education and community engagement. I am also happy to welcome Lord Mann as the new independent antisemitism adviser, who will hold us accountable for our efforts to tackle the scourge of antisemitism.” Mann is a former Labour MP who lead the bi-partisan Parliamentary inquiry commission in antisemitism and quit the Labor Party over antisemitism.
“I am pleased that our police continue to have a strong and positive relationship with the Community Security Trust (CST), working closely to ensure that communities across the UK can gather, celebrate and worship in peace,” Johnson continued.
Johnson concluded his letter by accepting Herzog’s proposal for cooperation between The Jewish Agency and the British Government in the fight against antisemitism: “I am grateful to you for your letter and The Jewish Agency’s ongoing work around the world to raise awareness and spur action on this crucial issue, and welcome your kind offer to work with us to this end.
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said in response to the British Prime Minister’s letter: “Boris Johnson’s statement must be adopted by political parties and leaders the world over. They must follow the example he has set in committing to fight anti-Semitism. This is especially true given the deep-seated concern in rise of antisemitism around the world and especially in Europe and within certain quarters of the British political landscape.”
“Last week, I heard a similar commitment to fighting anti-Semitism in my meeting with US Secretary Mike Pompeo and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The fight against extremism and anti-Semitism requires the unequivocal cooperation of global leaders to this end, including hard-hitting security and law enforcement measures. These firm steps must come alongside educational programming promoting tolerance and understanding of religious minorities, as well as the lessons of the Holocaust.”
The British Prime Minister’s letter was sent around a month after the attempted massacre of Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in the city of Halle, Germany during Yom Kippur. After the incident in Halle, Herzog sent an urgent letter to some 30 European leaders demanding that they increase security at Jewish institutions within their countries and act out against all manifestations of antisemitism.