British PM condemns ‘intolerable’ surge in antisemitism in UK amid Gaza fighting

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemns an “intolerable” surge in anti-Semitic violence in Britain linked to the Israeli-Palestinian unrest as he assures Jewish leaders of the government’s support.

At Downing Street, Johnson meets in person with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and virtually with seven other Jewish leaders including Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust.

The trust, which collates reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, says there was a sixfold increase to 116 in the 11-day period starting May 8.

Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters in London let off smoke flares, wave flags and carry placards during a demonstration against Israel amid fighting between the Jewish state and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, on May 15, 2021. (Tolga Akmen/AFP)

“Whatever the situation is in the Middle East, there is no excuse for the importing of prejudice to the streets of our country,” Johnson says in a statement after the meeting.

Incidents including one assault on a rabbi in London and a “disgusting parade” of vehicles elsewhere in the capital were “intolerable and I take deep, deep exception,” he said.

Police have arrested four people after they were shown on video shouting antisemitic abuse from a car in north London on Sunday.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask to combat the spread of Covid-19, leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on May 19, 2021. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Two men have been charged in connection with the attack on the rabbi, who was hit over the head with a concrete brick near his synagogue.

“There is no place for anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom. We must call it out, and be continuously vigilant and emphatic,” Johnson says.

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