WATCH: British PM Marks Rosh Hashanah Holiday With Vow to Combat Anti-Semitism

Theresa May speaking at the reception. Chief Rabbi Mirvis praised her efforts to protect British Jews. (JC)
At a reception at 10 Downing Street with leaders of the Jewish community to mark the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday, British Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her government’s pledge to combat anti-Semitism amid an uptick in the U.K.

“Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews,” May said, vowing to “actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

May added that the best weapon against anti-Semitism is “to create an environment that prevents it happening in the first place.” She noted this led her government to create “a proper National Memorial to the Holocaust, together with an accompanying educational center to teach future generations to fight hatred and prejudice in all its form.”

May also told the audience of Jewish leaders she was looking forward to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour declaration, which supported a Jewish national home in Palestine.

“Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” she said.

A survey released this week by the U.K.-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) found that around 30 percent of the British public hold at least one anti-Semitic viewpoint.

The JPR survey follows reports in August that one in three British Jews have considered leaving the U.K. over safety concerns related to anti-Semitism.

In July, police data acquired under British freedom of information laws detailed a 45-percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the U.K., including verbal and physical abuse as well as vandalism.