World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder hailed British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday for his proposal to combat the spread of Islamic extremism in England, which includes steps to counter the growth of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and rhetoric.
Cameron unveiled the British government’s five-year plan to defeat homegrown extremism in a speech in Birmingham earlier on Monday.
“We congratulate Prime Minister Cameron for his strong stand against anti-Semitism and Muslim fanaticism. The resurgence of anti-Semitism and the spread of Islamic extremism across Europe is particularly troubling and Mr. Cameron’s plan takes a vital step toward combating these destructive forces,” said Lauder, who urged other European leaders to follow the Prime Minister’s lead.
“We urge other European leaders to show the same kind of bold leadership and address these critical issues in their own countries,” Lauder said. “Once again, we are seeing the rebirth of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering targeting Jews across Europe – and it is vital that Europe act now before the situation deteriorates.”
Among other points in his speech, Cameron had said that conspiracy theories of a powerful Jewish cabal or a Western plan to destroy Islam must be challenged in efforts to counter radicalization.
"You don't have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish," he said.
"Ideas also based on conspiracy that Jews exercise malevolent power or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam," Cameron added.
The British Prime Minister has in the past expressed concern over the rise of "a new anti-Semitism" in the United Kingdom.
"The Jewish community in Britain makes an incredibly important contribution to our country," Cameron told the Atlantic in April. "It is so well-integrated into every part of life."
"What is frightening at the moment, because of the rise of Islamist extremism, is that you see a new threat – a new anti-Semitism – and not the traditional anti-Semitism," he continued. "Look, there’s always been some difficulties between religions in European history. But this is a new scale of threat against Jewish communities."
Cameron’s comments, made before the elections in his country, came after the European Jewish Congress released a damning report revealing a spike in anti-Semitism throughout Europe, with the UK leading the way for the most anti-Semitic countries.