The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 rabbis in matters of public policy, today commended Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and its branch in the United Kingdom, CUFI-UK, in a letter to the Chairman of CUFI, Pastor John Hagee, for CUFI-UK’s “declaration in solidarity with the UK Jewish community.” 7000 British Christians have now signed the declaration, which states that they are “appalled that anti-Semitism exists and is allowed to thrive within the Labour Party and strongly up oppose how cases have been handled by the current Labour leadership,” and calls upon all British groups, including church denominations, to adopt the full definition of anti-Semitism provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
“We wrote this letter simply to thank Pastor John Hagee and CUFI for their leadership in mobilizing nonpartisan Christian support for the Jewish community in the United Kingdom,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV. “While people primarily think of CUFI’s support for Israel, the country, it is clear that CUFI backs the People of Israel all around the world, and we are grateful for their unabashed support in the face of hatred.”
Burgeouning anti-Semitism in Britain’s Labour Party has caused a crisis in relations with the UK Jewish community. In an unprecedented move, the Great Britain’s three largest Jewish newspapers published a joint front-page editorial describing a possible Corbyn government as an “existential threat to Jewish life” in the UK, charging that “the party that was, until recently, the natural home for our community has seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel.”
Of particular concern, the Labour Party’s National Executive Council, which is controlled by Corbyn supporters, adopted a watered-down version of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which excluded calling Israel “a racist endeavor” or comparing Israel’s government to that of the Nazis — and said that in several other cases, further proof was needed of “anti-Semitic intent.”
Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag, leader of the Whitefield Hebrew Congregation of Manchester, UK, member of the Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis, and a European member of the CJV Rabbinic Circle, said that “it is disturbing for us as Jews in the UK that the leader of the main opposition party continues to be clearly identified with anti-Jewish positions. It is consequently most heartening that Christian support for Jewish and Israel causes is being articulated and actively promoted in this way.”
“In the current environment, it takes courage to boldly and clearly state the truth,” concluded Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV. “In Europe, as on campuses in America, CUFI members deserve credit — and our thanks — for their courage.”