Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP strongly condemned antisemitism and praised the Jewish community for its “towering contribution” to Britain, in a House of Commons debate on antisemitism in modern society.
MPs from all parties contributed to the debate on Wednesday, including 10 Conservative MPs.
Mr Brokenshire highlighted the rise of antisemitism in the UK, stating: “For the third year running, the number of antisemitic incidents in the UK is sadly at an all-time high, according to the figures released this month by the Community Security Trust. This equates to 1,652 incidents last year, with over 100 incidents reported in each month for the first time in a single calendar year. The surge of antisemitism online, up 54% on 2017”.
The Communities Secretary stressed that UK is a safe place for Jewish people to live, and promised: “I want to give the following assurance to our Jewish communities: you are an intrinsic part of what makes Britain great, and the Government will always stand by you to challenge bigotry and intolerance”.
Affirming his support of the new National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament, Mr Brokenshire said: “I believe there can be no more fitting place, no more powerful symbol of our commitment to remembering” Holocaust victims.
He went on to emphasise that “antisemitism has no place in our society—however it evolves, it is still hatred and bigotry—and we should not be afraid to call it out and to champion our Jewish community, which continues to make a towering contribution to our society without reservation. Indeed, Britain would not be what it is without our Jewish friends, neighbours and cousins”.
CFI’s Vice-chairman Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP also spoke of her disappointment for such a debate to be taking place in the UK, stating: “I want to emphasise that antisemitism is completely unacceptable—whether it comes from the hard right or the radical left—and it is utterly unforgivable if it permeates a mainstream political party”.
Former Defence Minister Guto Bebb MP said: “It is a shame that we need to have this type of debate in the United Kingdom in 2019, but we do need it, and we need to carry on working as parliamentarians to make sure that this virus, which is a plague on our politics and on our communities, is dealt with”.
Other MPs to contribute to the debate included Andrew Percy MP, Dr Matthew Offord MP and Maria Caulfield MP.