NEW YORK (VINnews) — Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman has announced new steps to improve security in Jewish communities and crack down on antisemitic crimes.
According to the plan, synagogues and religious schools will be granted 15 million GBP for protective security measures in 2023-24 as part of the Jewish Community Protective Security grant, an increase of one million pounds from the previous year.
In addition, a new Jewish Community Police, Crime, and Security Taskforce that will consist of senior police leaders, ministers, the Community Security Trust (CST), and others will be formed to strengthen accountability and enhance efforts to combat antisemitic and violent crime against Jewish communities.
The Home Secretary will also chair a regular forum to discuss with operational partners “communal security concerns relating to policing, terrorism, state threats, hate crime, and public order matters.” The forum will meet three times a year starting this spring.
According to Braverman, the funding will aid “increased protective security, including security guards and other security measures such as CCTV and alarm systems to protect against persistent hate crime, anti-social behavior, terrorism, and state threats.”
Braverman, who is married to “a proud Jewish member of Bushey synagogue”, spoke to the London-based Jewish Chronicle during a visit to the CST and explained the rationale for the increased measures
“When it comes to antisemitism, I have felt for a long time that there’s a double standard,” Braverman said. “Racism that would be called out if it were directed against any other minority is explained away or ignored when it comes to Jews.
“We need to be really clear. Antisemitism is not racism-lite. It’s racism.
“But whereas racism directed against other minority groups would trigger a very firm response from law enforcement, when similar behaviour is targeted towards the Jewish community, it tends to be accepted.
“A blind eye is turned, and so it becomes normalised. That is something we cannot tolerate.
“When you’re here at CST and you hear about the hundred plus reports of antisemitism it gets every month, when you hear about the convoy of cars which descended on north London, when there was vile sloganeering and abusive behaviour going on in the heart of the Jewish community, and you listen to the real concern among the Jewish community that police did not respond sufficiently, you can’t but say that yes, collectively, as a law enforcement community, we can do better. And we must,” she says.
Braverman is very proud of her Jewish family, stating that “The Jewish community is our community. My husband is a proud Jew and Zionist.
“He’s lived in Israel. We have close family members who serve in the IDF. My children will be raised with a strong sense of Jewish values and their Jewish heritage. We enjoy Friday night dinners at our mother-in-law’s.
“I love Jewish culture and I have very much loved learning and embracing the Jewish way of life, and our children being raised with a very strong connection to it.”
Community Security Trust Chief Executive Mark Gardner MBE commented on the Home Secretary’s announcement: “This announcement by the Home Secretary is hugely welcome, given the continuing threats of terrorism and antisemitism that are faced by British Jews. CST will continue to do everything we can in partnership with the Home Office so as to ensure the best possible security for Jewish schools, synagogues, and communities throughout the country.”
Minister for Security Tom Tugendhat said: “Antisemitism is abhorrent, and I stand hand in hand with the Jewish community against all its manifestations. We must continue to strive to ensure that every community can live and worship in safety, free from threat.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Hate Crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, stated: “It is vital that all citizens are able to live their lives free from targeted abuse, and the NPCC supports this funding to help reduce antisemitic hostility suffered by Jewish people in the UK.
The right to live free from targeted abuse is a fundamental right that we all share, and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice. I would encourage anyone who suffers such a crime to report it, either to the police or to the Community Security Trust. In an emergency, always call 999.”