The Home Secretary committed to renew the £13.4 million in annual security funding for the Jewish community at the CST’s annual dinner on Wednesday evening.
Amber Rudd MP said the Government would “continue to protect and celebrate the UK’s Jewish community” while confirming the money for 2018/19 to synagogues, schools and communal buildings.
“It is absolutely essential that we all feel safe where we live, where we work, where we worship and where we meet our friends,” she said, in a speech that also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to challenging hate crime.
Highlighting ongoing threats, Rudd said: “Daesh [ISIS] and Al-Qaida continue to highlight Jews among lists of targets in their propaganda, as well as the public at large, our police and military, and events like Christmas markets.”
Conservative Governments since 2015 have provided over £38.5m for protective security measures in response to the terrorist threat, she said, and CST chair Gerald Ronson said Rudd “typifies this Government’s strong practical and moral support for British Jews at a time of rising anti-Semitism and extremism”.
The Government is currently refreshing its Hate Crime Action Plan, first published in 2016, and recently helped establish a new national hub tackling online hate crime, which is being led by Greater Manchester Police. It began work in January.
Rudd acknowledged the CST’s work in managing the £13.4 million security funding across the community, sharing expertise about extremism and radicalisation, and working with organisations like Tell MAMA to help protect other faith communities.
The Home Secretary won plaudits from Jewish leaders last year for proscribing far-right group National Action, in a first-of-its-kind intervention. She subsequently banned the group’s aliases, Scottish Dawn and NS131.
However, she remained silent on the community’s call for her to proscribe the political wing of Hezbollah, which currently allows anti-Israel protesters in the UK to wave the flag of an armed militia with thousands of rockets pointed at northern Israel.
In the UK, Ronson noted that the number of anti-Semitic incidents were at all-time highs. “This isn’t some random event,” he said. Anti-Semitism isn’t like the weather. You don’t wake up in the morning and discover that it’s suddenly turned anti-Semitic outside. It comes down to the state of British society and politics.”
He said it’s “not just because of Brexit, or because of who leads the Labour Party,” but “because people are angry, alienated, frustrated, and looking for scapegoats – conditions that all forms of anti-Semitism feed off, including anti-Zionism, which draws people in by replacing the word Jew with the word Zionist.”
Introducing Rudd, CST vice-chair Lloyd Dorfman noted how anti-Semitism had risen in prominence, saying: “Since I first got involved with CST over 30 years ago, anti-Semitism has never featured more prominently. Hardly a day goes by when, in the mainstream press or across social media, it isn’t mentioned in some form or another. It’s become all pervasive, which is itself very disturbing.”