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Pompeo condemns rise of anti-Semitism, blasts Britain’s Labour Party

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on March 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to speak at the conference, but cut his U.S. trip short after a rocket from Gaza struck Israel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday condemned the rise of anti-Semitism as a “cancer metastasising” in the Middle East, Europe and in the United States, where he said the Trump administration would vigorously oppose it, Reuters reports.

In a speech to a major pro-Israel US lobby group in Washington, Pompeo accused Britain’s opposition Labour Party of tolerating anti-Semitism, calling it a “national disgrace”.

He said attacks against Jews were increasing in France and Germany and hate crimes against Jews in the United States were up by one third in 2017. He slammed the “multiple attacks” on the Orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Pompeo said anti-Zionism – opposition to the existence of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people – was a form of anti-Semitism that was on the rise.

Read: Trump recognises disputed Golan Heights as Israeli territory in boost for Netanyahu

“The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally, and we will fight it relentlessly,” he said, “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Earlier on Monday, US President Donald Trump recognised Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights in a boost for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces an election on April 9.

Some political analysts say that Republicans hope support for Israel will attract Jewish voters and note Republicans in Congress were outspoken in condemning comments by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar that some viewed as anti-Semitic.

At the same time, critics have credited Trump’s confrontational, nationalistic rhetoric with encouraging right-wing extremists and feeding a surge in activity by hate groups in the United States. The administration has flatly rejected that charge.

After a counter-protester was killed in 2017 at a white supremacist rally in Virginia where demonstrators chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Trump said there was blame on “both sides.”

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