20 May 2021

Boris Johnson pledges support for Jews amid ‘unprecedented’ rise in anti-Semitism

20 May 2021

Boris Johnson has said anti-Semitism on Britain’s streets is “intolerable” and the message that it will not be accepted “needs to be heard clearly” as the country’s top rabbi deemed the rise in the hate crime as “unprecedented”.

The Prime Minister met with Jewish leaders, including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, in Downing Street following a rise in hate crime incidents following the reignition of the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Mr Johnson promised the Government would support victims of anti-Semitism, and improve communication between religions as well as between ministers and religious communities.

He 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 anti-Semitism 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.”

It comes after Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was attacked near his synagogue in north London.

Separately, four men were arrested and bailed after passengers in a convoy of cars covered with Palestinian flags were heard to use offensive language and make threats against Jewish people in St John’s Wood on Sunday.

The Community Safety Trust, which gathers reports of anti-Semitic incidents, said there were 116 recorded in the 11-day period from May 8, compared to 19 in the 11 days before May 8, an increase of around six times.

Of the 116 reports, 34 were online abuse, 82 were offline and mainly verbal abuse, although four were violent.

The community is determined to stop it (anti-Semitism) in its tracks and are encouraged and grateful for the Government’s help

Following the meeting at No 10, Mr Johnson said: “I condemn anti-Semitism 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.

“There is no place for anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.

“We must call it out, and be continuously vigilant and emphatic.”

Mr Mirvis thanked the PM for organising the meeting and said he was “worried about the increase in anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom” calling the challenge “unprecedented”.

He added that “the community is determined to stop it in its tracks and are encouraged and grateful for the Government’s help”.

Attending the meeting virtually were Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Mark Gardner, chief executive of the Community Security Trust, Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, the Government’s anti-Semitism adviser Lord Mann, Rabbi Josh Levy of Alyth Synagogue, Claudia Mendoza, co-chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Rabbi Binyomin Stern, president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, and Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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