How is Britain Tackling Antisemitism

Israel Today reaches out to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv to find out what’s being done to combat antisemitism in the UK

Antisemitism remains a problem in the UK.
Kobi Gideon/GPO

In 2019 there were more antisemitic events in the UK than ever before. Israel Today reached out to the British Embassy in Israel (still in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem, our capital) to find out what exactly they are doing to combat the rise of antisemitism in England. Here is the full response we received from Aviv Dilevsky, Deputy Head of Communications.

  • The UK’s government’s relationship with the Jewish community has been built on the solid work of the Cross-Government working group on tackling antisemitism which ensures that we are alive to any issues and concerns of the Jewish community and can respond quickly.
  • The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK remains a cause for concern. that’s why the UK became the first country to formally adopt the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. Read the document here.
  • The CST – Community Security Trust – is an organization that looks after the safety and security of the Jewish community and is a trusted partner and member of the Cross Government Working group tackling antisemitism. The UK government works closely with CST to monitor antisemitic incidents and provide more security to the British Jewish community. Read more about this fine organization and how you can get involved here.
  • Government has provided over £13.4 million (in 2017/18) to ensure the security of Jewish faith schools, synagogues and communal buildings following concerns raised by the Jewish community. A further £13.4 million has just been confirmed for 2018/19.
  • In November 2019, British PM Boris Johnson wrote to Head of Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt support for all Jewish communities in the UK and around the world. Please be assured of my resolute support for all aspects of Jewish life… The safety of Jewish people is a top priority for the UK Government. I am pleased that our police continue to have a strong and positive relationship with the CST, working closely to ensure that communities across the UK can gather, celebrate and worship in peace…I recognise that more needs to be done to ensure the peace of mind of all worshippers. The Government has recently doubled spending on security for places of worship to £1.6 million, and continues to invest in initiatives to drive understanding and tolerance through education and community engagement. Nevertheless, I know all too well that more needs to be done to halt the appalling rise of antisemitism both at home and abroad.”
  • The Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, planned for Victoria Tower Gardens beside Parliament, is designed by British and Israeli architects (Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and Gustafson Porter + Bowman). Education on the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against prejudice, intolerance and misinformation. The Memorial will stand as a reminder of the horrors of the past and will encourage reflection on their implications for British government and society.
  • As antisemitism on university campuses remains a concern, the UK government announced in late January 2018 that it would fund an expansion of the Holocaust Educational Trust Lessons from Auschwitz project in collaboration with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) to tackle antisemitism on university campuses. This complements the UJS ‘Bridges not Boycotts’ project we are to challenge the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on many campuses.
  • The UK is strongly opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel.We are strongly against boycotts which divide people and reduce understanding.

Comments: