Anti-Semitism is resurgent in Europe, warns Michael Gove


Anti-Semitism is "resurgent" and "finds a home in far too many hearts", Michael Gove has warned.

The Justice Secretary said Jews still "live in fear" after being targeted in European countries.

He cited figures showing recorded anti-Semitic attacks jumped by 84% in France in the first three months of last year.

In the UK, 924 incidents were recorded in 2015 - the third highest total ever, according to Community Security Trust, a charity that protects British Jews from anti-Semitism and related threats.

Speaking at the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism Conference in Berlin, Mr Gove said: "Modern anti-Semitism finds a home in far too many hearts.

"There are those on the radical left whose purported sympathy for Arab suffering never results in campaigning against Middle East autocrats, but always in opposition to Israel.

"There are those on the extreme right whose dark prejudices have never been extinguished and who now use opposition to globalisation to revive old anti-Semitic tropes.

"And there are Islamist extremists who want to undermine what they see as the Zionist-crusader state and rail against Jewish influence everywhere.

"We need to stand against them all - and any who might be persuaded by their arguments - in solidarity with the Jewish people - and in solidarity with their right to national self-determination."

He added: "There is a duty on all of us in public life to speak out. And to watch out for those with whom we might align ourselves."

Terrorist attacks last year left Jewish communities around Europe on heightened alert.

In January 2015 a Kosher supermarket was targeted in Paris, with four hostages killed.

Mr Gove referred to one of the victims, Yoav Hattab. "Tragically, this was not the first time his family had been targeted," he said.

"In 1985, Yoav's aunt was one of three worshippers shot dead in a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. She was just fourteen years old.

"Thirty years separate those deaths, and still Jews live in fear."

Mr Gove said pogroms and racial laws culminated in the "unique horror" of the Holocaust  -"history's greatest crime".

He said: "But now - after horrors that should have meant this hatred was banished forever from human hearts - anti-Semitism is resurgent."

Today anti-Semitism targets the "collective identity" of the Jewish people, he said.

Mr Gove added: "Synagogues and schools need security guards. Children wearing the kippah, or students meeting as the 'University Jewish Society', face intimidation.

"And, of course, the most important expression of collective Jewish identity, the state of Israel, is faced with a campaign of prejudice against its very existence."