The Government has confirmed more than £13m of funding to boost security at Jewish schools next year, as the CST’s chairman warned that instability in America and Europe will have a negative impact on Jewish communities.
The renewed funding towards the cost security guards at Jewish schools for 2017-18 follows similar commitments from David Cameron and Theresa May during the last two CST dinners.
The funding will be overseen by the charity, which last night welcomed around 1,000 guests including Amber Rudd, new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and a host of political leaders to its flagship fundraiser in central London.
“We will continue to listen to the funding needs of the community going forward. But however friendly ad professional security guards are, I’m sure you would prefer to go to your local synagogue or drop your child at school without being greeted by one and this is the future we are all working towards.”
She spoke of the government’s work to challenge extremism from Islamist to the far right including the recent ban on National Action. And she spoke of work social media companies to speed up the removal of illegal content and demote hateful material in online searches. “It can’t be right that when you type Gena Turgel’s name into search engines, instead of her story of surviving the Holocaust, you can bring up Holocaust denial sites.”
Praising the CST and its army of volunteers, Rudd said the bomb threat that forced the evacuation of London’s Jewish Museum this week was a reminder of the importance of the charity’s work.
She added: “We are doing what we can to confine anti-Semitism to the history books. Our efforts have been internationally recognised.” In front of an audience that included Tom Watson, Tim Farron and Angus Roberston, she also praised Sir Eric Pickles “remarkable” which led to Britain becoming the first country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.
CST Chief Executive David Delew thanked “the Government for their “strong efforts to help combat terrorism and antisemitism, epitomised by the continued funding for security guards at Jewish schools, but also shown in a range of other measures, including the adoption and promotion of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism”.
Addressing the gathering, CST chair Gerald Ronson said he expected more “anti-Semitism, more division within society” in future and warned that global instability won’t be good for the Jewish community.
“Look at how fragile Europe is; and suddenly nobody knows what America stands for any more,” he said. “People are moving to the extremes. They face globalised problems, which they want simple solutions to. I don’t need explanations of fancy modern phrases such as “populism” or “false news” or “post truth”, because I know the danger they point to.
“Rightly or wrongly, people are angry. They don’t only feel left behind, they feel betrayed. And they need someone to blame. None of this is going to be good for Jews.”
Ronson detailed the extent of the CST’s recent work including setting up a nationwide control centre covering 220 sites and providing bullet proof vests to every shul.
Insisting that fighting anti-Semitism must never be a party political issue, he said: ” I know that, despite it all, we still have many friends in the Labour Party – and they know what is at stake every bit as much as we do. We have many good Muslim friends here this evening, but I just wish we had many more. The more Muslim friends we have, the better off both communities will be.”