Politicians heap praise on CST’s work in debate on rise in UK antisemitism

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Politicians heap praise on CST’s work in debate on rise in UK antisemitism

Crime minister Chris Philp tells MPs the organisation is ‘essential partner in our efforts to keep the Jewish community safe’

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

CST volunteers in training
CST volunteers in training

Politicians from across all parties have heaped praise on the work of the Community Security Trust in a Westminster debate about the appalling rise of antisemitism in the UK.

Mentioning last week’s latest CST report on antisemitic incidents in the UK, which showed there were 4,103 instances of anti-Jewish racist hatred recorded across the UK in 2023, with a huge upsurge after the October 7 Hamas attack, crime minister Chris Philp told MPs the communal charity was “an essential partner in our efforts to keep the Jewish community safe”.

He added: “I pay tribute to it for the brilliant work that it does.”

Echoing the minister’s praise, Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper added: “I join the minister in thanking the CST for the remarkable and tireless work that it does each day, alongside the police, to keep our Jewish community safe.

“Having supported and worked with it over many years, I know the incredible forensic work that it does in monitoring antisemitism, and the physical protection that it provides for Jewish schools, synagogues and other community events. We owe it our thanks.”

L-R at the CST annual dinner: Ed Balls, Gerald Ronson, Yvette Cooper MP, Lloyd Dorfman

Monday’s debate also saw Brent Labour MP Barry Gardiner commend the “vigilance” of the CST in relation to the recent shocking attack on a student outside JFS school in Kenton, by a group of youths who shouted “Free Palestine.”

“Sadly, only last month a student was physically attacked by a group of youths outside the school, and those youths goaded the student about the situation in Palestine,” Gardiner told MPs.

“Would the minister agree that nothing can justify such an attack on an innocent schoolchild, and does he accept that, whatever one believes about the actions of the Israeli Government, racism and anti-Jewish hatred must not be allowed to hide behind any political mask?”

Philp said he agreed that the “events in Gaza, or indeed anywhere else in the world, provide no basis, reason or excuse at all to inflict racist abuse on citizens in this country.”

He added: “There is no justification whatsoever for antisemitic attacks on Jewish people in this country because of what is happening elsewhere in the world. What happened to that boy outside the Jewish free school, JFS, in his constituency and what has happened—sadly, tragically—to thousands of members of the Jewish community in recent months is totally unacceptable and totally without excuse, and the police should act to make arrests where that happens.”

The Conservative MP and former attorney general Michael Ellis raised concerns “about reports of a magistrates court judge liking an antisemitic post on social media, having passed an extremely lenient sentence on protesters convicted of terrorism offences.”

He told the Commons: “This judge apparently trains junior members of the judiciary and is involved in judicial appointments of other judges.”

Responding, Philp said: “In relation to the judge, the judiciary is of course independent. Matters of judicial conduct are subject to investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.”

Labour’s Christian Wakeford also asked for confirmation that the government intended to make a recent increase in funding for the CST permanent.

The minister said: “The extra money for the Community Security Trust will apply in the current financial year; it will be a £3 million increase to £18 million in total. It will also apply next year, in financial year 2024-25, and it will be kept under review thereafter.”

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