The CST annual dinner was held in March and guests were joined by The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, who was the guest of honour for the evening. The dinner is CST’s main fundraising event of the year. It was sponsored by Deloitte and attended by around 1,000 guests, including donors, politicians, Police officers, Jewish community partners and other supporters of CST’s work protecting our Jewish community.
The dinner was attended by politicians from several different parties, including Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson MP; Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron MP; SNP leader in Westminster Angus Robertson MP; Sir Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post Holocaust Issues to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; and John Mann MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.
Police officers who attended to show their support for CST and for the Jewish community included newly-appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick; National Police Chiefs Council chair Chief Constable Sara Thornton; Essex Police Chief Constable Steven Kavanagh; Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey; Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling; and Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police who is also NPCC lead for the Jewish Community.
The evening began with a video message from Prime Minister Theresa May welcoming guests to the dinner. The Prime Minister thanked CST for our work and pledged:
“As Prime Minister there is one thing I want you to know: I am with you, and we will defeat this evil together. For as long as I am Prime Minister there will be no excuses for any kind of hatred towards the Jewish people… let us reaffirm our resolve with confidence that hatred will never prevail in our country. Together we will keep Jewish people safe in Britain, and together we will defeat the scourge of antisemitism by standing up for our values and our way of life, today and for every generation to come.”
The guests were then welcomed by CST Board member Rabbi Julia Neuberger, who thanked the Prime Minister for her message and then said that she spoke:
"As a proud British Jew who is proud - and I mean that - to live in one of the most tolerant and open minded countries on this earth. But things have changed. Antisemitism is in the mood music, and in our political reality. The world is less tolerant. People are frightened of migrants and strangers. The xenophobia is terrifying. And it is bad for our country, and for our Jewish community.” Rabbi Neuberger then thanked “CST’s extraordinary volunteers, who protect us in all weathers, whilst they and their families know full well the risk that they take on our behalf.”
The Home Secretary used her speech to announce the continuation of government funding for Jewish community protective security during 2017/18. This funding of £13.4 million, which is administered by CST on behalf of the government, pays for commercial security guards and protection at independent and state Jewish schools, nurseries, synagogues and community sites. The Home Secretary praised CST as a “valued and trusted government partner” in this work and promised to “continue to listen to the funding needs of the community going forward.”
The Home Secretary explained that the terrorist threat to the Jewish community is the reason for this security funding:
“We’ve seen terrorists target Jews specifically in recent years including in Paris, Brussels, Toulouse and Copenhagen. Just last month a 16-year-old girl was charged with terrorism offences in Denmark after she was caught planning to blow up a Jewish school. And Daesh literature continues to identify the Jewish community as a ‘desirable and legitimate’ target. But those who seek to do us harm do not all fit one profile and the senseless murder of our colleague Jo Cox last summer is a reminder of this. Her killer was Thomas Mair, an extreme right-wing terrorist.
But however friendly and professional security guards are, I’m sure you would all prefer to go to your local synagogue or drop your child at school without being greeted by one and this is a future that we are all working towards. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing the positive and productive relationship between the Home Office and CST.
But security measures alone are not enough. We must deal with those who promote hatred, intolerance and violence. That’s why in 2015 this government introduced our Counter Extremism Strategy which focuses on four pillars: building partnerships with all those opposed to extremism, countering extremist ideologies, disrupting extremists and building cohesive communities. All these areas of work challenge extremism in all its forms – from Islamist to the far right.
And in December I banned National Action, a terrorist group with homophobic, antisemitic views whose members had celebrated the murder of Jo Cox. Proscribing the group will prevent its membership from growing; its poisonous propaganda from spreading and it will protect vulnerable young people at risk of radicalisation from its toxic views. My message is clear – hideous organisations like this one have absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”
In introducing the Home Secretary, CST Deputy Chair Lloyd Dorfman CBE, spoke of CST’s work with the Home Office and thanked the many Police officers who work with CST throughout the year:
“Now the partnership between CST and the Home Office is absolutely central to the work we do to protect the Jewish community. Barely a day goes by without some sort of contact between CST staff and Home Office officials. It might be about our work managing the government funding for security guards and equipment at Jewish buildings across the country. Or perhaps it’s the advice CST staff give to civil servants overseeing the protection of other faith communities. It could be the research into extremism and radicalisation that CST shares with experts in the Home Office, identifying those extremists who wish to threaten our nation with their hate-ridden ideas and beliefs. And then there is our work together tackling the hate crime that divides communities and ruins people’s lives. And certainly, for the Jewish Community, there is a daunting amount of work to be done to tackle the growing antisemitism in our country.
“Tonight, in this room, we have Jews, Christians, Muslims, people of no faith, left wing, right wing, women and men, all committed to fighting antisemitism, racism and extremism together. Home Secretary, you can count on CST to play our role alongside our many partners; and there is no more important partner for us than the Police. We know it is Police officers who are in the front line, patrolling our streets, investigating hate crimes and preventing terrorist attacks. We see the courage and professionalism with which they protect all of us and our communities, every day. So, to the many senior Police officers who are our welcome guests here this evening, may I take this opportunity on behalf of CST and the entire Jewish community to say a loud ‘thank you’.”
CST Chair Gerald Ronson CBE concluded the evening with an appeal for people to support CST as protection against an uncertain world:
“In the future we expect more terrorism, more antisemitism and more division within society. That might sound pessimistic, but to me it is realistic. Let me explain why and with this, I will end my appeal. Firstly, the terrorism. I don’t care what you call it. Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Global Jihad. The fundamental problem is that we are fighting against an idea, not an organisation. And while we fight this idea, time doesn’t stand still. America elects a new President. Countries collapse in the Middle East. And the idea keeps spreading and the terrorism continues.
Secondly, the antisemitism. I’ve spent a lifetime in this fight and I don’t need any reports to tell me what is going on. I know when the wind has turned and I recognise that smell. Look at Britain, from Brexit to Corbyn. Look at how fragile Europe is; and suddenly nobody knows what America stands for any more. I think this has only just begun. People are moving to the extremes. They face globalised problems, which they want simple solutions to. I don’t need explanations of fancy modern phrases such as “populism” or “false news” or “post truth”, because I know the danger they point to.
Look at what has happened in the year since we last met. The world is shifting under our feet. Rightly or wrongly, people are angry. They don't only feel left behind, they feel betrayed. And they need someone to blame. Look around you. None of this is going to be good for Jews. And then, if Israel finds itself at war again, you can imagine the deluge of hate. That will come on top of everything I’ve just said.”
CST thanks all those who attended the CST Dinner to show their support for our work, and to help us in our mission of facilitating Jewish life in Britain by protecting our Jewish community.