This week, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, reaffirmed his support for the UK Jewish community and condemned antisemitism, which he said has “morphed” into hatred of the State of Israel.
The Cabinet Minister said that “today, antisemitism finds expression through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, in our media and in our Parliament”. He continued: “There is a point of view in these areas that says the Israeli state is illegitimate and every Jewish citizen of Britain who takes pride and has respect for all that Israel has achieved is somehow an accomplice in a criminal act”.
While addressing guests at the UJIA fundraising dinner on Monday, he said that he had “always” been a Zionist, which has led him “to understand why a home for the Jewish people in a country that has always been theirs is so precious”.
Mr Gove pledged: “For as long as I have breath in my body and a platform on which to argue I shall be on your side, by your side and delighted and honoured to argue, powerfully I hope, on behalf of people who have contributed so powerfully to the life of this nation”.
He added: “There’s no surer test throughout history of whether or not society, or peoples are moving forwards into freedom and enlightenment or backwards into prejudice and hate than the attitude of people towards its Jews”. He emphasised that “all those of us who believe in democracy, in liberal values, in the essential dignity of the human individual – all of us have an obligation to call out this hate wherever we find it”.
The Secretary of State praised the democratic values that “underpin” the State of Israel and spoke of the need to “celebrate everything that Israel and the Jewish people have brought to the life of this world and hold it dear to our hearts”.