March 23, 2019

Theresa May: ‘Anti-Semitism Is Racism’

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 in Downing Street in London, Britain, November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

UK Prime Minister Theresa May tore into anti-Semitism in a Monday speech, explicitly stating that it is an example of racism.

May said in her speech at a reception on Downing Street following the Sara Conference, which focused on anti-Semitism and sexism, that “Jewish women are increasingly coming under dual attack” from sexism and anti-Semitism.

“These attitudes are not limited to the far-right,” May said. “As is so often the case with anti-Semitism, bigotry directed at Jewish women also comes from those who would never consider themselves to be racist, including within the women’s rights movement itself.”

May added, “Some Jewish women have been told that they’re not ‘real’ feminists unless they publically disavow Israel’s right to exist, or been thrown off pride marches for flying rainbow flags that feature the Star of David.”

She pointed out that such lines of attack against Jewish women are excused by the “canard” that it can’t be racist because racism views minorities as inferior, whereas Jews are seen as “universally wealthy and powerful.”

“I have no time for equivocation,” May said. “Anti-Semitism is racism – and any ‘equality’ movement that indulges or ignores it is not worthy of the name.”

May then highlighted some of her administration’s accomplishments in tackling anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, including the government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and providing funding for Holocaust education:

Standing in the heart of our democracy on a site right next to Parliament, the National Holocaust Memorial will be accompanied by an education centre that will lead a national effort to fight hatred and prejudice in all its forms.

As the Chancellor announced in last month’s Budget, we will also provide £1.7 million for school programmes marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

And we are continuing to support the Holocaust Educational Trust, not just backing its Lessons From Auschwitz programme but extending it to cover universities. The first students and university leaders to take part in the new scheme travelled to Poland just last week.

May concluded her speech by stating, “Freedom of thought and freedom of speech have never meant freedom to abuse and freedom to threaten. Anti-Semitism and misogyny have no place in this country.”

Read her full speech here.