CST Annual Dinner 2019
27 February 2019
CST’s main fundraising event of the year, the CST Annual Dinner, took place tonight in central London and was attended by 1,000 guests, including donors, politicians, Police officers, communal partners and other supporters of CST’s work in protecting our Jewish community.
CST was pleased to host numerous politicians from all of the main political parties, including Guest of Honour, Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson MP, Home Affairs Select Committee Chair Yvette Cooper MP, All Party Parliamentary Against Antisemitism Chair John Mann MP and Justice Secretary David Gauke MP. There was strong support expressed for those present who have repeatedly faced antisemitic threats and abuse: John Mann MP, Ruth Smeeth MP, Louise Ellman MP, Margaret Hodge MP, Ian Austin MP, Joan Ryan MP and of course Luciana Berger MP.
Other distinguished guests whom CST was delighted to host included Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick CBE QPM, Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins QPM, Ambassador of Israel Mark Regev, UK Special Envoy on Post Holocaust Issues Lord Eric Pickles and the television presenter Rachel Riley.
CST’s guests were welcomed by Jessica Weinberg Neiss, who gave a profound opening address. Jessica is currently living in London, but is from the Pittsburgh synagogue that was attacked by a neo-Nazi gunman on a Shabbat morning in October 2018. Jessica reflected:
“Back home, we have over 13 shuls within five miles of each other. They didn’t have security guards, because we didn’t need them. People loved to come and go. To pray with their neighbours and celebrate life’s simchas together. There were no 'lists' of congregants. We moved between the shuls, regardless of affiliation. That is the innocence that was destroyed at Tree of Life Synagogue...
…My personal healing includes bringing CST’s example to the attention of the Pittsburgh community. I am encouraging its leadership to come to Britain and learn from CST. The professionalism and commitment of CST is an important lesson that now seems critical for American Jews.”
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, John Mann MP, spoke forcefully at the Dinner. He stressed his dismay at the way his party, the Labour party, are dealing with the ongoing antisemitism crisis. He said that when his grandchildren ask, "Grandad, what did you do when the antisemitism came for the Jews" he will be able to respond that "I was not a bystander, I stood and fought."
John reiterated the importance of the work that CST does, stating that we need to say to antisemites that "there will be always be consequences...that, to me, is the point of CST...how truly lucky you are to have CST." John also stressed the importance of the Jewish community in society. He said the Jewish community are "the canary in the cage [down the coal mine] for humanity...you have no choice but to support this organisation, the CST."
John concluded his passionate speech and received a standing ovation by the audience after stating that "with the spirit of the Macabees, with the CST, we take the war to the antisemites...we have no choice, we have to win".
CST Deputy Chairman Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE welcomed our guest of honour, Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP, and said:
“Tonight’s dinner marks the 25th anniversary of the actual formation of CST. Although it had previously existed in various guises over several decades before that, 1994 was the year it first became a registered charity under its then new name of Community Security Trust…At that time, anti-Semitism had mainly been a problem of the far right. Since then, however, we have seen it emerge from two further directions: Islamist extremism and, more recently, the far-left.”
Lloyd also paid special tribute to civil servant Sally Sealey OBE, who has led the Government’s work with the Jewish community for many years and has played an important role in the struggle against antisemitism:
“Sally, thank you for all your support, as well as to the many civil servants CST works with across Whitehall who are the unsung heroes in this battle.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP was warmly applauded for his strong stance against antisemitism, especially for his recent decision to ban Hizbollah and the very welcome decision to give £14 million in support for the cost of commercial security guards for Jewish schools and other institutions (to be managed, as in previous years, by CST):
"'Our Jewish friends deserve better...and so do every single human targeted for who they are and what they believe in...
...There are the creeping tentacles of hate which seem to be taking a stronghold of our society....I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of hate....I have been punched...called a p**i...a coconut...and much worse."
The Home Secretary also praised the work of CST and said that "in these troubled times, the work of CST has never been so important."
CST Chief Executive David Delew introduced the evening’s short film presentation, emphasising the need to remain "absolutely committed to the task of protecting our community and facilitating a vibrant Jewish life, here in the UK." David also expressed thanks to the CST "trustees, staff and volunteers."
CST Chair Gerald M Ronson CBE ended the evening with an appeal in which he stressed the need for support from all of those attending the Dinner:
“Every single person in this room has one thing in common. Because words are no longer enough. You need to act. Take responsibility, be it financial, political, physical or intellectual…”
Gerald stated the scale of the problem now facing the Jewish community, calling it a “new reality”, resulting in a need for greater support for CST:
“…Let me turn to the new reality that we have to confront…I demand that antisemitism be opposed and fought at every turn…Right now, the biggest challenge is simply to slow down the rise in antisemitism. And that fight cannot be done by Jews alone. If we are the only ones fighting it, then it will keep on accelerating, because we will keep being the problem. I don’t want Jews to be treated better than anyone else, but I demand that we are treated equally…
…I have every right to be in your trade union, in your political party…That is my backstop and it is not up for negotiation…
…Instead of taking pride in our [CST] achievements, I have to stand here and tell you that it is not enough…Everyone, please dig deep. Give us what we need to get the job done.”
CST wishes to thank all those who attended the CST Annual Dinner tonight 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.
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