In an address to leading Jewish figures in the United Kingdom, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby vowed to take rising anti-Semitism in the U.K. and within his church “seriously.”
In a candid and reflective speech to the Board of Deputies of British Jews—the representative organization of U.K. Jewry—the archbishop said it has been a very “shocking” year with the rise religiously sponsored violence perpetrated by terror groups like Islamic State, Boko Haram, and others “aimed at Jewish communities in Europe and around the world… including very serious attacks on Christian and Anglican communities.”
“We need to stop that, both with security—that is an essential—but also with ideology that undermines, that subverts, the arguments of the radicals, that models an alternative that is about human flourishing and about the flourishing of human societies,” he said.
The archbishop, who serves as the “first among equals” of the 80 million-strong Anglican Church, also acknowledged the rising anti-Semitism in the U.K., admitting that in the past he has failed to stand up and protest anti-Semitism. Welby apologized for the actions of Church of England Vicar Stephen Sizer, who attended an anti-Semitic conference in Iran. The archbishop vowed to take anti-Semitism “seriously” within the church.
Additionally, Welby said that Christians need to stand up and address the “horrendous” violence against Jewish communities.
“Within the Christian community we need to stand against our own tendency, when exhibited over many centuries, to violence; violence against each other and above all violence against Jewish communities in horrendous and horrible ways going back well over a millennia,” he said.