British Prime Minister Theresa May launched a personal appeal to her country’s Jewish community on Thursday, writing in an op-ed that she and her government would fight anti-Semitism through all means at its disposal.
“I want to speak very directly to every Jewish family in the UK, to assure you of my personal determination to do everything possible to keep you safe and to rid this scourge of hatred from the soul of our country,” the premier wrote in her editorial, published in the United Kingdom’s Jewish Chronicle. “Put simply, there can be no excuses for any kind of hatred towards the Jewish people. Full stop.”
May outlined in her op-ed steps that her government has taken to combat anti-Semitism, including settling on a new definition of the phenomenon, granting more security to Jewish institutions and developing new education initiatives around the Holocaust, among them a national memorial slated to open next to the British Parliament.
She wrote that though the two were linked, anti-Israel sentiments and anti-Semitic statements had to be treated separately. Still, she said, “We can be unequivocal that criticising the government of Israel can never be an excuse for hatred against the Jewish people.”
May has taken a warm position toward the state of Israel, castigating the effort to impose boycotts, divestment, and sanctions on the country. Her government’s definition of anti-Semitism encompasses efforts to apply a “double standard” to the Jewish state that holds it to a higher bar than other democracies. In a recent speech, she rebuked the opposition Labour Party, repeatedly engulfed in accusations of Jew-hatred, for having “turned a blind eye” to anti-Semitism.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.