British Minister: U.K. Must Confront Appalling Rise in anti-Semitism

Interior Minister Theresa May says she is 'deeply distressed' by a poll that found 45 percent of Britons agree with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment.

English Defence League rally against the "Islamification" of the UK and in support of Israel, outside the Israeli Embassy in London. October 24, 2010.

Britain needs to address an "appalling" spike in anti-Semitism, interior minister Theresa May said on Sunday in a speech to the Jewish community designed to address their security fears after an Islamist gunman killed four French Jews in Paris.

Police officials have been working closely with Jewish organizations to step up security arrangements after the attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris earlier this month.

May said she was "deeply distressed" by a poll which last week showed anti-Semitic beliefs were prevalent among the wider public, with 45 percent of Britons agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment.

"We must ... confront the appalling spike in anti-Semitism which we've seen," she told an event organized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

May said anti-Semitism had risen since last year's war between Israel and Gaza during which more than 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed.

"Those attitudes have absolutely no place in Britain and we must do everything we can to eradicate them," she said.