London is 'the most anti-Semitic city in the West', Israeli minister claims

21 March 2024, 08:53

Amichai Chikli said London is the West's most anti-Semitic city
Amichai Chikli said London is the West's most anti-Semitic city. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

An Israeli government minister has branded London the most anti-Semitic Western city.

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Amichai Chikli, who has a history of making inflammatory comments, said that the British capital was no longer safe for many Jewish people.

Anti-Semitism in the UK has increased markedly since Hamas' attacks on Israel on October 7, and the subsequent war in Gaza.

But Sadiq Khan and some Jewish leaders have insisted that London is not a "no-go zone" for Jews, despite the anti-Semitism.

Mr Chikli, the diaspora affairs minister, told a conference in Jerusalem that "today in the UK, Jews are hiding their Jewishness, the mezuzah, the kippah."

Read more: 'Explosion in hatred' against Jews in UK as more than 4,000 antisemitic incidents recorded

Read more: Jewish leaders reject claim London is 'no-go zone for Jews on weekends ' but say 'marches are intimidating'

Amichai Chikli
Amichai Chikli. Picture: Getty

He added: "They know that if they speak Hebrew on the subway they might get hit. And this is the reality for Jews in Europe.”

He added: "This is a reality in Europe, where anti-Semitism is the worst since the Thirties as a consequence of the red-green alliance with radical Islam."

Discussing the UK, he said: "This is a centre of Western civilisation, the country of the Magna Carta and one of the leading democracies of the West with a rich legacy of freedom of speech, of human rights.

"But it seems what is happening now in Britain is that freedom of speech no longer exists,

Mr Chikli, 42, has previously compared David Cameron to Neville Chamberlain for saying that the UK could officially recognise the state of Palestine after the war in Gaza.

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He has also called the Palestinian Authority "neo-Nazi" and has criticised a Pride parade in Tel Aviv for being "vulgar".

Mr Chikli, who is also social equality minister, has singled out Hungary for praise as a safe haven for Jews in Europe, in contrast with the UK. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been called anti-Semitic over his criticism of Jewish billionaire George Soros.

Mr Chikli said on a visit last month: "Hungary’s robust conservative leadership ensures Jews can walk through the streets safely, unlike in other European capitals, where, notably in London, Jews require armoured vehicles for safe passage."

It comes after the government's anti-extremism adviser Robin Simcox raised concerns earlier this month about the impact of pro-Palestine protests on London's Jewish community.

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He said: "We will not have become an authoritarian state if London is no longer permitted to be turned into a no-go zone for Jews every weekend.

“All these things and more have become normalised in the UK. It is why I have warned of a permissive environment for radicalisation developing that needs urgently addressing."

But some Jewish leaders rejected this characterisation, while acknowledging that the protests - many of which have featured criminal behaviour - can be intimidating.