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December 29, 2014 5:02 pm

British Minister Vows to Combat ‘Dark Forces’ of Anti-Semitism

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avatar by Ben Cohen

British government minister Eric Pickles drew a connection between anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agitation. Photo: Wikicommons

A British government minister has vowed to combat the “dark forces” of anti-Semitism following an upsurge of attacks against the UK Jewish community during the past year, many of them tied to protests against Israel’s war with the Hamas regime in Gaza over the summer.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles pledged to make extra funds available for additional security at Jewish schools. Pickles also promised a “zero tolerance” approach to the online hate crimes that have already targeted a number of leading British Jewish personalities, including Luciana Berger, a member of parliament for a constituency in the northern city of Liverpool.

According to Britain’s Daily Express newspaper, Pickles added that new measures to counter anti-Semitism on campus would be introduced, while schoolchildren will be taught about the Nazi Holocaust.

In an oped for the same paper, Pickles mourned that “in 2014, there has been a revolting relapse of this ancient evil” while highlighting the intimate relationship between hatred of Jews as a community and hatred of the Jewish state.

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“Institutions that should have stood up to this thuggish behaviour did not,” Pickles wrote. “Like the Holborn branch of Sainsbury’s (a well-known British supermarket,) clearing their shelves of kosher food to satisfy anti-Israeli yobs outside. This casual acceptance of anti-Semitism was outrageous.”

Pickles went on: “Even some councils have behaved irresponsibly. Like Tower Hamlets (in east London,) engaging in their own municipal foreign policy by flying the Palestinian flag. These public bodies should be using their position of authority to actively reduce tensions, not stir them up. ”

The number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the UK hit record levels in July, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up to protect Britain’s Jewish community.

There were 302 incidents, compared to 59 in July 2013. There were a further 241 attacks in August.

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