Britain's PM Theresa May addressed United Jewish Israel Appeal charity dinner in London, Sept. 17, 2018. (Peter Nicholls/Pool via AP) (Peter Nicholls/Pool via AP)
Theresa May

“I stand with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. And I stand with the entire Jewish community in Britain,” Theresa May declared.

By Beth Stern, United with Israel

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke up loudly and clearly for her country’s Jewish community and voiced full-throated support for Israel at a charity event Monday night that celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state.

Speaking at the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) dinner in London, May addressed the main issue that has roiled the Jewish community in her country all summer long as revelation after revelation about Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party concerning anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel were exposed in the media.

“You cannot claim to be tackling racism if you are not tackling anti-Semitism,” she said bluntly.

Referring indirectly to a poll earlier this month that found that almost 40% of British Jews would seriously consider emigrating if Corbyn became prime minister, May said she was “sickened” by the fact that “some in our Jewish community say they are fearful of the future.”

In clear reference to the reaction to a terrorist attack in Paris in 2015, when four Jewish hostages were killed in a kosher grocery, she stated, “In the face of any kind of hatred against the Jewish people…I say with that same defiance: Je suis juif (I am a Jew).”

The British leader also expressed firm support for Israel, in contrast to the opposition leader.

“We deeply value our connections with Israeli civil society as part of the fabric that binds two democracies together,” she said. “To suggest Israel is a racist endeavor – is that those voices seek to separate the Jewish diaspora in our country from their connection with Israel.”

“I stand with the UJIA. I stand with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. And I stand with the entire Jewish community in Britain,” she declared.

According to its website, the UJIA is the largest Jewish charity in the UK. It has run programs for almost a century to build “meaningful connections” between British and Israeli Jews and strengthen Jewish identity on the British side of the ocean by, for example, sending a few thousand young people to Israel on various tours and gap year experiences. In Israel, it provides scholarships for the Tel Hai College and helps integrate Israeli Arabs in high tech, among other initiatives.

Some 800 guests attended the event, sponsored by Israel  Bonds and Currency UK, including Israel’s Ambassador to Great Britain Mark Regev and British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.