Theresa May has tonight confirmed more than £13m government funding for help protect the Jewish community over the next year, as she insisted extremists must not be given “an inch in causing tension and division”, writes Justin Cohen
The renewed funding will be used to provide measures including guards at Jewish independent and state schools, synagogues and other community sites.
The announcement came during an address MPs, police chiefs and community leaders at the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust, which was attended by around 1,000.
The home secretary said: ““No one wants the school where they send their child to need security guards, or have their place of worship to be fitted with security alarms and blast resistant glass. But until that changes, the Government is clear we will stand by the Jewish community.
“We must also do more to tackle the causes of those threats and prevent damaging and destructive narratives, because undoubtedly the biggest challenge we face today is extremism. There is a lot that Government can do and we are doing.” The government’s counter-extremism strategy aimed to protect against “non-violent and violent” extremism from Islamists and neo-Nazis.
In front of guests including Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, May hailed the CST for “leading the way in showing how a community can safeguard itself. And if we are to defeat extremism, we must all work together”.
CST chairman Gerald Ronson recalled the aftermath of the terror attacks in Europe last year, saying: “Our community was more scared than I can ever remember. The threat has not changed. If anything, it is getting worse.”
He told the gathering: “Just like the Nazis, the Jihadists are trying to provoke a race war. They want us to hate all Muslims. So, let me be very clear. Yes, there is far too much antisemitism within Muslim communities. But it is certainly not all Muslims versus all Jews. CST has always worked with Muslim allies and we always will. I only wish that more Jews appreciated the commitment and the courage of our Muslims friends.”
Turning to the scourge of anti-Semitism, he said: “Some people have learned not to be antisemitic, but to be anti-Zionist instead. Maybe that is what they think at Oxford University. They might be fooling themselves, but they certainly don’t fool me. They used to say that Jews are rich, that we run the banks, the media and the politicians, that we cause wars and spread hatred. Now, they say it about Zionists instead. Some clever people call this the new antisemitism. To me it’s just the old Jew hatred in modern packaging.”
With the CST’s budget set to increase by nearly £1m this year,he called for support to enable the organisation to take protection of Anglo-Jewry “To the next level”.
David Delew, Chief Executive of the CST, which will manage the funding, said: “CST deeply appreciates this latest financial commitment from Government towards securing British Jews.”