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August 15, 2014 11:05 am

UK Chief Rabbi Mirvis: Middle East Situation ‘Not an Excuse for Simply Abominable and Unacceptable’ Anti-Semitism

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Photo: Kinloss.

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said there was no excuse for the global rise of anti-Semitism in response to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to stop Hamas’s rockets and tunnels from Gaza, the UK’s Jewish News reported on Friday from an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“The situation in the Middle East should not be used as an excuse for simply abominable and unacceptable conduct… which is in fact what is happening,” the chief rabbi said.

“Anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitism. However, anti-Zionism does create a context within which anti-Semitism can thrive,” he said. “This is exactly what we are seeing.”

In Britain, more than 200 incidents of anti-Semitism were reported over the last month, while a new poll showed two-thirds of Jewish Britons have discussed whether there is a future for the Jewish people in the UK.

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The Jewish News also reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and, according to a spokesman, said: “The Prime Minister reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself and said he hoped that discussions in Egypt would result in a permanent ceasefire.”

“The Prime Minister emphasized that both sides would need to take the necessary but sometimes difficult steps to achieve that goal, and that a genuine peace deal was the only way to allow Palestinians and Israelis to live alongside one another, free from terror,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

Cameron also spoke to Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The prime minister’s spokesman said, “They agreed on the urgent need for the current ceasefire to lead to a lasting peace deal, ending the bloodshed for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

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