The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Britain has pledged £13.4m to the organisation Community Security Trust (CST) for increasing security provision around Jewish institutions, including schools, nurseries and synagogues. The government’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, described Jews as a ‘legitimate and desirable target’ for terrorist groups such as Islamic State, citing attacks on Jews in places such as Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels and Toulouse.
Antisemitism is also reported to be at record levels in the UK, which Ms. Rudd insisted the government has been working to overcome. She drew attention to the recent jailing of an internet troll who sent death threats to Labour MP Luciana Berger, as well as the government’s attempts to work with internet companies to fight online abuse.
Her words came in the shadow of the accusations of antisemitism made against the Labour party that prompted an inquiry conducted by former head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. However, members of the CST, whom Ms. Rudd was addressing, were quick to point out that antisemitism routinely crossed party lines and that such sentiments regularly came from people on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.
Online abuse towards MPs from minority backgrounds has become a familiar spectacle in recent years. Scottish minister Humza Yousaf was subjected to a flurry of online abuse in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks in November 2015. Police launched an investigation into the tweets, which included claims that Mr. Yousaf was a terrorist sympathiser and needed to be deported, along with threats that he would be castrated.
Police investigations into any incidents of online abuse and prejudice, whether it be Islamophobia or antisemitism, are welcome; however it is notable that Mr. Yousaf’s tormentor was punished with a fine, whereas the person perpetrating abuse against Ms. Berger received a prison sentence. Government attempts to combat racism should be aimed equally at all vulnerable groups, and as a result, Ms. Rudd should make similar attempts to reach out to British Muslims.