Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP pledged £13.4 million to continue Government funding for security measures at Jewish schools and community establishments at the Community Security Trust (CST) annual fundraising dinner on Wednesday, promising to protect the Jewish community against Antisemitism following a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents reported to the charity in 2016.
The Government funding will go towards security guards and protection at Jewish schools, synagogues and community sites, and follows the commitment given by then-Home Secretary Theresa May at last year’s annual CST dinner.
In an address to over 1,000 attendees, Mrs Rudd said: “We are doing what we can to confine Antisemitism to the history books. If you feel threatened we will listen to you, and if you are victimised we will defend you”.
The Home Secretary expressed that she hoped to work towards a future where Jewish institutions would no longer need security guards for protection, expressing that “it’s essential that you all feel safe where you live, work, and spend your leisure time”.
The Home Secretary underlined: “We will strive to build a Britain that Jews are proud to call home”.
Praising the Jewish community’s contribution to Britain, Home Secretary Rudd said: “Our Jewish community has made an immense contribution to all areas of life in Britain – from the arts – to architecture. From medicine to philanthropy”.
Speaking of the Government’s work to challenge Islamist extremism, and the role of social media as a vehicle for hate crime, including Antisemitism, she emphasised that “security measures alone are not enough. We must deal with those who promote hatred, intolerance and violence”.
Mrs Rudd praised CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman Sir Eric Pickles as “remarkable” for his role in the drafting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism, which was adopted by the Government at the end of 2016. The new definition makes it more difficult for individuals to evade repercussions of Antisemitism, and makes clear what Antisemitism constitutes.
Praising the work of CST, the Home Secretary said: “We only need to look at recent events – bomb hoaxes and the desecration of Jewish graves in America and the evacuation of the Jewish museum in north London this week following a bomb threat, to know how important this type of work is”.
A CST report last month revealed that Antisemitism in the UK had reached “unprecedented” levels in 2016, with 1,309 incidents reported last year – the highest on record and marking a 36% increase.
The Home Secretary was thanked by CST for the Government’s efforts to tackle Antisemitism and the recent adoption of IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, which defines Antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of Antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.