CST Blog

CST Annual Dinner 2023

29 March 2023

CST’s main fundraising event of the year, the CST Annual Dinner, took place tonight in central London. Over 850 guests were in attendance, including donors, Members of Parliament, police officers, communal partners and other supporters of CST’s work.

It was an extraordinary occasion, the first time since the pandemic outbreak that CST has been able to host this event, gathering so many allies in our mission to protect the Jewish community and combat anti-Jewish hate in all its forms. Politicians from all the main political parties were present to show their solidarity, including Home Secretary Suella Braverman KC MP and Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer KCB KC MP.

CST was also delighted to welcome distinguished guests and pillars of the community and other staunch advocates for Jewish life in the UK, such as Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis KBE, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley QPM.

Lisa Ronson, CST Trustee, welcomed our guests in her opening address, reinforcing that our mission can only be accomplished with the help and support of everyone in wider British society:

“Together We Protect isn’t just a slogan. It’s a reality. CST isn’t separate to our community: it’s a reflection of it, in all of its diversity. CST, and the fight against antisemitism, has to transcend both religious affiliation and party politics…

…Together We Protect isn’t only about the Jews in this room. It must include all of the politicians, the police and our other partners and allies who are with us tonight.”

Sir Keir Starmer KCB KC MP gave a toast to His Majesty King Charles III, affirming his dedication to tackling anti-Jewish hatred:

"I want to take this opportunity humbly to say thank you for giving me the time and space to address antisemitism in my party. Without your help we would not have got to where we did yesterday. There is no complacency from me and we are ever vigilant. The fight against antisemitism is never over. Nor is the fight to reconnect with the Jewish community."

Talking about his family: "I am really grateful for all the links we have with the Jewish community. They are strong and they are deep."

CST Chief Executive Mark Gardner spoke ahead of the screening of two short films that demonstrated the ethos at the heart of CST’s work and the importance of the work itself, giving a snapshot of the kind of extremism and prejudice that we encounter on a daily basis, and the support given to victims of that hate. He spoke of the need to “be guided, at all times, by the three words that make up our name. Community and Security and Trust,” vowing that “we will always do everything we can to earn and deserve your trust. That is my commitment to all of you; and it is CST’s pledge in the service of our community.”

CST Deputy Chairman Sir Lloyd Dorfman CVO CBE then welcomed our guest of honour, Home Secretary Suella Braverman KC MP:

"The partnership we have with Government is at the very heart of CST’s work and our fight against antisemitism, and there is no more important relationship than the one we have with the Home Office."

The Home Secretary made clear her commitment to the Jewish community. During her address she announced a remarkable increase to the Government Grant that helps finance the cost of commercial security guards at Jewish locations. The distribution of this crucial funding, managed by CST, now stands at £15 million and will ensure the protection of schools, synagogues and communal centres across the UK over the next year.

The Home Secretary also announced the formation of a new Jewish Community Police, Crime and Security Taskforce to enhance efforts to combat anti-Jewish hate crime. They will be chaired by the Home Secretary and will draw on the experience of senior police officers, ministers, CST and other stakeholders. She highlighted  CST's "outstanding, noble work", and the consequences it has had not only for the security of the Jewish community, but wider British society as well:

"Would-be terrorists are in jail and lives have been saved as a result of information passed to counter-terrorism police by CST."

She also made clear how fundamental CST's work is, both professionally and personally, adding, "CST provides invaluable help to the Home Office on hate crime policy and counter-terrorism...I feel personally at home in the Jewish community and I am in awe of the vital work of the Community Security Trust."

To conclude the evening, CST Chairman Gerald M Ronson CBE paid tribute to his friend, colleague and CST Trustee, Lord David Young:

“He was British. He was Jewish. He served his country and his community. He is deeply missed.”

He emphasised that uncertain times, locally and globally, provide an environment for antisemitism to thrive, increasing the need for, and demands on, organisations like CST, telling the guests:

"We have built a very successful Jewish community, and we are still building it, with new schools, new care homes and everything in between. But antisemitism is also very successful. It’s had over 2,000 years to keep evolving. It survived the Holocaust. And it certainly wasn’t solved by the creation of the State of Israel."

The speech ended with an appeal for the donations necessary to keep CST’s essential work going:

“None of us know the detail of what’s to come but the big picture is clear enough. And our responsibility is equally clear. Like it or not, the first duty of leadership is protecting your people. I have always taken that responsibility [seriously] and that is what I ask from all of you here tonight… 

…Together we will protect our Jewish community come what may. Please dig deep and do what is needed.”

CST wishes to express its sincerest thanks to all those in attendance at the Annual Dinner. It was fantastic to meet once more under the same roof, all contributing to take a stand against those who wish to do our community harm. It is only together, with your support, that we can continue to facilitate Jewish life in the UK.

If you would like to support our work, every penny counts. You can do so on our website. For assistance, please call CST Fundraising on 020 8457 3700, or email [email protected].

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