In a wide-ranging interview, the Prime Minister emphasised that the issue of anti-Semitism ought not to be the concern of Jews alone and warned that the international movement to declare Israel an illegitimate state shares characteristics with anti-Semitism.
Mr Cameron praised the UK’s Jewish community for “making an incredibly important contribution to our country”.
Turning to Israel, the Prime Minister asserted that it is “unfair and wrong to lay at the door of Jewish communities in Europe the policies pursued by the government of Israel that people might not agree with—it’s completely wrong”.
Mr Cameron strongly condemned an “insidious, creeping attempt to delegitimise the state of Israel, which spills over often into anti-Semitism”.
The Prime Minister stated: “This is a state, a democracy that is recognised by the United Nations, and I don’t think we should be tolerant of this effort at delegitimisation. The people who are trying to make the line fuzzy are the delegitimisers. And I have a very clear view, which is that if you disagree with the policies of Israel, fine, say so, but that is never a reason to take that out on Jewish communities. We have to be very clear about threats—this is a dangerous line that people keep crossing over, that says that anti-Zionism is a legitimate form of political discourse”.
The Prime Minister speaks at length about the “poisonous narrative of Islamist extremism” and identified it as posing a “new scale of threat against Jewish communities”.
Mr Cameron highlighted what the Conservative-led Government had done to tackle Islamic extremism and “work with the Jewish community to help them protect themselves”.
Pledging that the Government was “working as hard as we can to make people feel safe”, the Prime Minister outlined: “I don’t think in Britain we have all the answers, but we’ve been quick off the mark in stopping the hate preachers coming in. We have to clear up the problems you find on [university] campus, we’ve got to go after incitement and hatred and violence, we’ve got to do more work with the Jewish community to help them protect themselves. And we’ve been doing these things”.
He continued: “I think in Britain we’re taking the right approach, tackling anti-Semitism, emphasising the contributions of the Jewish community, and all the rest of it. It’s something that needs renewed attention”.
Addressing reports of concern within the Jewish community at the reported rise in anti-Semitism, Mr Cameron said: “You’ve got the poisonous narrative of Islamist extremism, which is targeting Jews generally. You’ve got specific attacks in Europe. And you have the rise of anti-Semitism on [university] campuses or in public life, including sadly in Britain in some cases. Plus, you’ve got the issue of delegitimisation being pushed, the boycotts of the state of Israel by universities and the like, and soon you add all these things up and you can see why some in the Jewish community are very concerned”.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Cameron asserted: “I would be heartbroken if I ever thought that people in the Jewish community thought that Britain was no longer a safe place for them. I think we are miles and miles away from that, but I understand the concerns they have and I think we’re addressing them”.
Click here to read the full interview.