British PM: The idea that Jews feel unsafe is sickening

By JERRY LEWIS
January 18, 2015 00:58

“My policy is simple: zero-tolerance. No exceptions and no excuses," writes British Premier David Cameron.

2 minute read.



British parliament

A woman holds a Union flag umbrella in front of the Big Ben clock tower (R) and the Houses of Parliament in London. (photo credit:REUTERS)

LONDON – In a strongly expressed comment piece in this week’s Jewish Chronicle, British Premier David Cameron described how sickened he has been by recent instances of anti-Semitism.

“The idea that the Jewish people once again feels unsafe in Europe is a truly sickening thought that strikes at the heart of everything we stand for,” he said. While the situation in the UK is significantly better than in many other countries, he said, in Britain “we, too, have seen a completely unacceptable rise in anti-Semitism.”

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His message, he added, is clear. “We are going to take that spirit from the march in Paris and we are going to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got.

“My policy is simple: zero-tolerance. No exceptions and no excuses. So let me be clear: no disagreements on politics or policy will ever be allowed to justify racism, prejudice or extremism in our society. Over generations we have built something incredible in our country: a multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy – and we are not going to let anti-Semitism destroy it.”

He said everything possible is being done to protect people. The government has already provided enhanced police budgets for counter-terrorism and provided an additional £130 million for its agencies over the next two years following the increase in the UK threat level last August.

In addition, he referred to the millions invested in protecting Jewish schools, noting that the Community Security Trust has an excellent relationship with the police and further work to protect vulnerable buildings is already under way.

“But I want everyone in our Jewish community to know that if they want help or advice on security they should find an open door with the police,” he added.

The government also needs to deal with the causes of the security threat and not just its consequences.

“That means going after the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that perverts the Islamic faith in an attempt to justify the most sickening barbarism and brutality,” Cameron wrote.

It is clear from evidence about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offenses, that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it.

To defeat this ideology, he said, Britain needs to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism.

Current legislation going through Parliament would for the first time place an obligation on all public bodies to play their part in tackling extremism that can lead to violence and terrorism.

“It is why we have banned extremist preachers, increased the resources available for programs that prevent radicalization and why we are getting extremist material taken down from the Internet” the prime minister said.

Addressing criticism that tackling extremists is potentially in conflict with concepts of free speech, he acknowledged that there are those who argue that some measures are not compatible with free speech.

“But I say we would not sit back and allow right-wing extremists or Nazis to recruit support in these ways. So we will not allow Islamist extremists this opportunity either,” he asserted.

Cameron concluded by pointing out that defeating the poisonous ideology of extremism will take patience and determination, but he wanted to give the Jewish community – through the columns of The Jewish Chronicle – a promise. “Together we will beat anti-Semitism and we will make sure this remains a country that Jewish people in Britain are proud to call home.”

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