The Community Security Trust (CST) is a British charity established in 1994 to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK. Its inception follows a history of threats to the Jewish community in Britain, in particular to attacks on British Jews and their buildings by British Fascists from the 1930s, and to further attacks by Islamists hostile to Israel and by extension to its British supporters. The attacks in the 1930s were repelled by community action and Jewish self-defence groups, persuading many within the community that organised self-defence organisations were required because police authorities could not be expected to devote disproportionate resources to synagogues, schools and other Jewish infrastructure. The CST was the product of a similar response to Islamicist hostility from the 1980s. Its chairman is British billionaire Gerald Ronson and its deputy chairman is Lloyd Dorfman CBE.
The CST provides security advice and training for Jewish schools, synagogues and communal organisations and gives assistance to those bodies that are affected by antisemitism. The CST also assists and supports individual members of the Jewish community who have been affected by antisemitism and antisemitic incidents. It advises and represents the Jewish community on matters of antisemitism, terrorism and security and works with police, government and international bodies. All this work is provided at no charge.
The CST has recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK since 1994 and publishes an annual Antisemitic Incidents Report. The CST also published Terrorist Incidents against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad 1968-2010, a definitive report of terrorist attacks against Jewish communities around the world.
In 2008 CST published its first Antisemitic Discourse Report, an annual study of antisemitic discourse in mainstream media and politics in the UK. It has more recently published an advisory report on voting tactics in British elections to minimise the impact of far-right groups such as the British National Party (BNP).
The CST has five offices, 55 members of staff and a network of 3,000 volunteers from all parts of the Jewish community, who are trained by the CST and the Police. The organisation’s philosophy is that the Jewish community is responsible for its own security. It works closely with Police Services around the country and is recognised by Government and Police as a model of a minority community security organisation. In 2012 the CST provided the model for a new anti-Islamophobia project, TELL MAMA (run by interfaith organisation Faith Matters ), with which it now works closely.
In 2011 a number of articles appeared in the British newspaper the Jewish Chronicle that sought to question the work and functioning of the CST. Dr Gilbert Kahn, of Kean University in the USA, took the view that British Jewry did not need a CST because British Jews paid taxes to the state for their physical protection and could therefore depend on the police. On 15 April the JC’s resident columnist, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, argued against the CST on the grounds that its leadership and funding were neither transparent nor accountable. Alderman returned to the subject on 10 June, when he speculated that his doubts about the CST and its work were more widely shared.
In May 2014, it was revealed that the chief executive of the CST is the highest paid of all charity leaders within the British Jewish community, earning between £170,000-£190,000 per annum.
In July 2015 Professor Alderman devoted his column to the retirement of the CST’s Director of Security, Carol Laser. He speculated as to the reason for her retirement and questioned whether it was wise that she had agreed to have her identity revealed.
In December 2011, the „Electronic Intifada“ reported that the CST had links to Israeli security, had sent a report to the UK Home Office in which it denounced several “anti-Zionist British Jewish individuals and groups” as “extreme groups,” claiming they were “unrepresentative of the vast majority of British Jews.“ They further reported that the CST had sent a second document to the Home Office at the same time titled “Neturei Karta & Raed Salah” as part of a larger dossier. This four-page report suggested that the group was guilty of everything from Holocaust denial to “defending” a 2008 terrorist attack against Jews in Mumbai. The purpose of these actions was reported to be an attempt to help the government in its court case to deport Palestinian political activist Raed Salah.