Board welcomes Prime Minister’s comments on tackling extremism and promoting cohesion

The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomes today’s speech by Prime Minister David Cameron on countering extremism

Around Europe, Jews have been at the sharp end of violent extremism from Jihadist extremism and the far right, from terrorist attacks against Jews in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen, to a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents in the UK, the Jewish community will welcome a robust approach to tackling the problem. We particularly welcome measures such as those giving extra power to Ofcom to tackle foreign channels which promote hate; encouraging universities to denounce speeches by Islamist extremists and the new powers to tackle cult leaders and those spreading extremist messages.

We also welcome his warning to extremists who believe that “Jews exercise malevolent power” and engage in conspiracy theories as well as his assertion of double standards by those those who condemn suicide bombers in London but not in Israel.

We believe that still more needs to be done to counter extremism online, including on social media, and hope that the Government and law enforcement agencies will continue to work on ways to ensure that these media are able to play their full role in civil society and open debate without becoming an open-sewer of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

The Board believes that, in addition to improved intelligence-gathering and law enforcement, a key component in tackling extremism is the promotion of community cohesion, and we are glad that the Prime Minister underscored this through his speech today. The Board believes that the Government should develop a clear and comprehensive strategy on this, backed up with a designated budget. Clearly, this work needs to be developed through robust consultation with the communities involved.

Board President Jonathan Arkush said, “Since my election in May, I have repeatedly said that a key challenge for our society is ensuring integration and good relations between all communities including Muslims. This is particularly true for the Jewish community, who has been at the sharp end of extremism and have the most to gain from robust measures that promote security. These will be my key priorities over my term of office and I sincerely welcome the resolve and ambition that the Prime Minister has shown today.”

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