British PM Vows to Fight 'New Anti-Semitism'

David Cameron speaks strongly against delegitimizing Israel, says Jewish community is 'incredibly important' in Britain.

Tova Dvorin ,

David Cameron
David Cameron
Flash 90

British Prime Minister David Cameron is highly concerned over the rise of "a new anti-Semitism" in the United Kingdom (UK), and would be "heartbroken" if British Jewry as a whole began to feel unsafe.  

"The Jewish community in Britain makes an incredibly important contribution to our country," he said Monday, in an interview with the Atlantic. "It is so well-integrated into every part of life." 

"What is frightening at the moment, because of the rise of Islamist extremism, is that you see a new threat - a new anti-Semitism - and not the traditional anti-Semitism," he continued. "Look, there’s always been some difficulties between religions in European history. But this is a new scale of threat against Jewish communities." 

"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," he added. "We have to clear up the problems you find on 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."

Cameron also said that Britain should not tolerate the delegitimization of Israel, as "a state, a democracy that is recognized by the United Nations." 

"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," he emphasized. "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."

Cameron's remarks surface weeks ahead of the British general elections, and days after a poll revealed that much of British Jewry prefers the Conservative candidate over competitor and Labor candidate Ed Miliband. Labor has alienated much of the British Jewish community with its anti-Israel stance and declaration to "recognize Palestine." 

Earlier this month, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) released a damning report revealing a spike in anti-Semitism throughout Europe, with the UK leading the way for the most anti-Semitic countries.