The Chief Rabbi has said the rise of anti-Semitism in the wake of the Gaza conflict has caused anxiety within the “deeply concerned” Jewish community.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “The situation in the Middle East should not be used as an excuse for simply abominable and unacceptable conduct… which is in fact what is happening.
“Anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitism. However, anti-Zionism does create a context within which anti-semitism can thrive. This is exactly what we are seeing.”
He also branded as “offensive” remarks made by comedian Joan Rivers who said some Palestinian victims deserved to be dead.
He said: “We are filled with pain for the suffering of innocent civilians. I don’t think one should be flippant about such suffering. I think I speak for all of my community in expressing the pain and anguish that we feel.
“She (Rivers) is not a representative of the Jewish community of the world. Absolutely no offensive comments should be mentioned.”
Meanwhile, David Cameron has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that both sides need to take the “necessary but sometimes difficult steps” to achieve a permanent ceasefire, according to Downing Street.
A No 10 spokesman said of the phone call: “The Prime Minister reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself and said he hoped that discussions in Egypt would result in a permanent ceasefire.
“The Prime Minister emphasised that both sides would need to take the necessary but sometimes difficult steps to achieve that goal, and that a genuine peace deal was the only way to allow Palestinians and Israelis to live alongside one another, free from terror.”
The PM also spoke to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
The No 10 spokesman added: “They agreed on the urgent need for the current ceasefire to lead to a lasting peace deal, ending the bloodshed for both Palestinians and Israelis.”