UK PM Johnson: More must be done ‘to stamp out’ antisemitism

Johnson was responding to a letter sent by Herzog to Johnson, where the Jewish Agency Chairman expressed, "deep concern regarding the unprecedented rise in antisemitic abuse and violence."

Letter sent by British PM, Boris Johnson to Jewish Agency Chairman, Isaac Herzog, November 2019 (photo credit: JEWISH AGENCY)
Letter sent by British PM, Boris Johnson to Jewish Agency Chairman, Isaac Herzog, November 2019
(photo credit: JEWISH AGENCY)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that more must be done to eradicate antisemitism from modern society in the UK, and that the current government was investing in the protection of places of worship and in tolerance education.
Johnson made his comments in a letter to Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, who wrote last month to the British prime minister expressing concern about rising antisemitism in Europe in the wake of the Halle, Germany, synagogue attack, and to call for heightened security measures at Jewish institutions.
Johnson’s letter comes as the UK is currently in the midst of a campaign leading to the December 12 election in which antisemitism has become a key issue, due to the failure of the Labour Party to adequately tackle the widespread antisemitism among its members at all levels of the party.
According to the annual report by the Community Security Trust in the UK, 2018 saw a record level of antisemitic incidents, following two other record-breaking years in 2017 and 2016.
“Please be assured of my resolute support for all aspects of Jewish life,” Johnson said in his letter to Herzog, adding that he had read “with a heavy heart” about the Halle synagogue shooting and other recent incidents of antisemitism in Europe.
“I completely agree that we need to do more to stamp this out and better protect our Jewish friends and neighbors,” the British prime minister said.
He added that “the safety of the Jewish people is a top priority for the UK government,” and lauded the cooperation between the Community Security Trust of the UK Jewish community and the government.
Johnson also noted that the current government had doubled spending on security for places of worship, and would continue to “invest in initiatives to drive understanding and tolerance through education and community engagement. Nevertheless, I know all too well that more needs to be done to halt the appalling rise of antisemitism both at home and abroad.”
A long and ever-increasing list of antisemitic incidents has beset the Labour Party, with numerous party MPs, local authority representatives, party candidates for elected office, and rank and file members having made and been accused of antisemitic sentiment and actions.
Last week, a group of prominent British figures, all of whom were not Jewish, published a letter in The Guardian newspaper saying they could not vote for the Labour Party, headed by hard-left leader and fierce Israel critic Jeremy Corbyn, because of its failure to tackle the antisemitism in its midst.
Among those signing the letter were espionage novelist John le Carré, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and historians Antony Beevor and Tom Holland.
Some 93% of British Jews say they will not vote Labour – the second largest in the UK and the main challenger to Johnson’s Conservative Party – because of its antisemitism crisis, according to a recent poll.
Many British Jews are even putting aside their personal political stance regarding the Brexit issue, and will likely vote tactically to keep Labour MPs from being elected.