At a reception held earlier this week to mark the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday, British Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her government’s pledge to combat antisemitism amid an uptick in the UK.
“Through our new definition of antisemitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews,” May said, vowing to “actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”
May added that the best weapon against antisemitism is “to create an environment that prevents it happening in the first place.” She noted this led her government to create “a proper National Memorial to the Holocaust, together with an accompanying educational center to teach future generations to fight hatred and prejudice in all its form.”
May also told the audience of Jewish leaders she was looking forward to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour declaration, which supported a Jewish national home in Palestine.
“Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” she said.
A survey released this week by the UK-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) found that around 30 percent of the British public hold at least one antisemitic viewpoint.
The JPR survey follows reports in August that one in three British Jews have considered leaving the UK over safety concerns related to antisemitism.
In July, police data acquired under British freedom of information laws detailed a 45-percent increase in antisemitic hate crimes in the UK, including verbal and physical abuse as well as vandalism.