(May 24, 2019 / JNS) British Jewish organizations expressed appreciation towards British Prime Minister Theresa May, who announced on Friday that she will resign after failing to deliver an exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
She is expected to be replaced by a fellow member of the Conservative Party. Former U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the overwhelming favorite.
“We sincerely thank Theresa May for being a true friend to the Jewish community during her time in office,” said Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie van der Zyl in a statement.
Among her accomplishments for U.K. Jewry, said van der Zyl, was that her “government has adopted the [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism; marked the Balfour Centenary with pride; banned terror organization Hezbollah; increased security funding” and opposed “anti-Israel bias at the U.N. Human Rights Council.”
The U.K.-based Jewish Chronicle also saluted May.
“If Theresa May’s overall achievements as Prime Minister are difficult to highlight—for British Jews she will be remembered by most as a leader who offered them and Israel unprecedented support,” wrote the paper’s political editor, Lee Harpin.
Harpin noted May speaking out against U.K. Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his and his party’s history of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias, “often challenging and defeating him in heated Commons exchanges on the issue.”
“Even when she was fighting the toughest [political] battles, she made time for Jewish causes,” he added.
Harpin cited May’s speech in September at the United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner, where she said, “It sickens me that anyone should feel like that in our country. I do not underestimate the threat posed by those who promote antisemitism or hatred in any form. Nor the pernicious nature of what those people say and what they stand for.”
“Criticizing the actions of Israel is never, and can never be, an excuse for questioning Israel’s right to exist; any more than criticizing Britain’s actions could be an excuse for questioning our right to exist,” she added.
On Twitter, Great Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, reinforced May as an ally of the Jewish community.
“The Jewish community will look back on the premiership of @theresa_maywith deep gratitude for her friendship – in particular, her commitment to challenging antisemitism wherever it is found, Holocaust memorial and the physical protection of our community. She has always … been and will forever remain a true ‘ohevet Yisrael’ [Lover of Israel]. May she know only blessing and success in the future,” he tweeted.
… been and will forever remain a true ‘ohevet Yisrael’. May she know only blessing and success in the future. 2/2
— Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) May 24, 2019