Speaking at a Community Security Trust (CST) dinner in Manchester this week, former Prime Minister David Cameron has reiterated his “unwavering” support for the Jewish community, and expressed his appreciation for the “warmth” he has felt from the community throughout his leadership and since standing down last year.
He described himself as “not just an advocate” for the community, but a “staunch, steadfast supporter”, stating: “I am pro the freedom to follow a faith and practice that faith, pro Britain’s Jewish community and the vast contribution it makes to this country, and yes, pro the state of Israel and its right to defend itself”.
Mr Cameron said that among his proudest moments as Prime Minister was setting up the first ever UK Holocaust Commission and his commitment to build a national memorial and learning centre.
He reflected: “I want every child and adult to learn and remember – adults need educating too. That’s why we need a Holocaust memorial and learning centre next to heart of our democracy to say to people and the world we will never forget the lessons of the past and will teach those lessons again and again”.
Mr Cameron said that more needed to be done to combat extremism: “We won’t win the fight if we let extremist preachers come and preach hatred, run schools or tolerate organisations that, even if they don’t support violence, support the thinking that leads to violence”.
He emphasised that “our agenda requires a clear understanding of the extremism we face”, including the threat of Islamist extremism. Mr Cameron said that he knew “everyone in this room will have been touched or affected” by the tragic Manchester Arena attack in May, and praised the “efforts of everyone – the community, Greater Manchester Police and the other emergency services – in the aftermath of that horror”.
He expressed his belief that Islamist extremism is the “greatest challenge we face”, and that “we all need to be far more focused on combatting Islamist extremism in all its forms”.
The former Prime Minister underlined: “There should be no opt-outs for combatting extremism. Not for universities, not for schools, not for aid organisations, not for governments, not for communities – not for anyone”.
Extracts from Mr Cameron’s speech can be read here.