David Cameron has described anti-Semitism as “one of the greatest evils of humanity” in a statement released to mark today’s Solidarity Shabbat.
The Prime Minister is one of a number of world leaders to take part in the inaugural event, which is aimed at showing unified public support for Jewish communities in the aftermath of a spike in increasingly open and violent anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic last year. The CST logged a record high of 543 anti-Semitic incidents in July and August 2014 alone.
In his statement, Mr. Cameron reaffirmed the government’s commitment to fighting “prejudice and hatred” and repeated his promise of over £10 million of new funding to improve the security of Britain’s Jewish communities for “this year and every year as long as it’s needed”.
The Prime Minister, who announced plans to build a national Holocaust memorial and learning centre in central London after a visit to Auschwitz in December, said: “Anti-Semitism is one the greatest evils of humanity and Britain will fight it with everything we have.
“But to defeat anti-Semitism we ultimately have to defeat the ideology of hatred and extremism on which it thrives.
“Through the work of my Holocaust Commission and the new UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, we will teach every generation the British values of respect and tolerance that we hold dear. And we will work with our international partners to fight prejudice and hatred wherever it is found.”
In addition to Mr. Cameron’s statement, government efforts to mark the day included a visit to Wolfson Hillel Jewish Primary School by Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay and Enfield Southgate MP Mark Burrowes.
The Minister watched nursery and reception children act out a family Shabbat dinner, and faced tenacious questioning on the General Election in a Year One and Two assembly.
Speaking at the school, Baroness Anelay said: “Solidarity Sabbath is an initiative I was proud to be a part of, along with so many other members of the international community, to show my support for Jewish communities in the UK and across the world and to say that there can never be any excuse for anti-Semitism and intolerance.
“For too long antisemitism has been a scourge on our communities with the number of antisemitic attacks in the UK reaching a record high last year. That antisemitism continues to be a problem in our society, despite the strong stand this government has taken, is deeply worrying. We need to keep going in our comprehensive efforts to tackle it.”
“I was delighted to attend the event at the Wolfson Hillel school today so see how the children learn about their family Sabbath traditions and to answer their questions about our recent elections.”
Other world leaders commemorating the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice’s initiative include U.S. President Barack Obama, who will join worshippers at a Washington D.C. synagogue later this evening.