Tag Archives: orthodox

Venue swap doesn’t stop Naz Shah from speaking and apologising

The UK Labour Party’s Naz Shah, currently suspended from the party amid allegations of anti-Semitism, managed to meet and speak with local Jewish community members from Leeds and Bradford, despite an enforced change of venue. The event on Sunday evening – initiated by the Leeds Jewish Representative Council – was moved from the Orthodox Beit Hamidrash Hagadol to the Reform Sinai Synagogue following complaints about the gathering.

Naz Shah (centre)
Naz Shah (centre)

Shah admitted she was “ignorant about Judaism” when she made the anti-Semitic comments leading to her suspension. “It is my job in the Muslim Community to highlight the issues of anti-Semitism.”

“Going to Auschwitz is a fantastic idea but it won’t fix the problem. We need to educate the community.”

“It’s up to me to own the narrative,” she continued. “To have conversations with the Muslim community [about anti-Semitism] and that’s my responsibility.”

Shah explained that she came to this realisation after she was asked to apologize to the House of Commons and to the British Jewish community, something she described as a, “Politicians apology.”

“I looked at myself and asked whether I had prejudice against Jewish people. But I realised I was ignorant and I want to learn about the Jewish faith and culture. I do not have hatred for Jewish people.”

Despite her actions which led to her suspension, Shah insisted that she believes in Israel’s rights to exist and to self-defense, and that – contrary to former Bradford politician and rival George Galloway – she does not believe in Bradford being an ‘Israel-free zone.’

ASW reviews ‘We Stand Together’ London event

coollogo_com-23172872AntiSemitismWatch felt it right and appropriate to have a presence at the London launch of the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign today. The ‘We Stand Together’ Campaign is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and police forces across the UK are being asked to come together to promote its message.

ASW17The London launch was hosted at the impressive Regent’s Park Mosque and the chair for the launch was Commander Mak Chishty of the Metropolitan Police.

What was also impressive was range and depth of the speakers and guests at the event. The Jewish community was represented across the spectrum; Reform, Orthodox, Chassidic, Board of Deputies and Jewish Police Association.

With the theme of the event being to ‘celebrate our difference, against hatred and intolerance, to build a safer and stronger UK’ speakers said:

Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, of  The London Central Mosque Trust
Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, of The London Central Mosque Trust

Dr Ahmed Al-Dubayan, Director General ICC said, “Hate has no part of any religion on earth.”

Vivien Wineman, President of Board of Deputies, said hate was, “not acceptable to the mainstream of our communities.”

Pastor Nims Obunge, said, “A religion that teaches hate is not a religion” and “we must refuse to be imprisoned by fear and terror.”

Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Tell Mama, said, “We need to tackle extremism”, “all of us have a challenge”  to “stand together.”

IMG-20150309-WA0000While Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence speaking on behalf of the Chief Rabbi reminded us that, “If you destroy a life you destroy an entire world.”

In all there were some robust and beautiful words said, words that carried the right sentiment and expressed the strength of communities standing, supporting and working together. The event also concluded with all those present signing a giant ‘We Stand Together’ pledge board.2015-03-08 15.28.58

ASWs review concludes by saying that the real challenge, however, is to ensure that the momentum generated by the event is maintained. It must deliver measurable benefits in terms of challenging those that seek to promote hate as well as responding swiftly and decisively at critically important times and events. 

Jewish college students face Antisemitism

More than half of self-identified Jewish college students at campuses in the USA report that they have experienced or witnessed Antisemitism, according to a new national study.

The National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, issued by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, reported that 54 percent of 1,157 respondents at 55 campuses experienced anti-Semitic incidents during the spring of 2014.

ASW12Little variation in the rate of campus Antisemitism was reported in various regions of the United States. The figures were higher for women than for men (59 to 51 percent), and for Conservative and Reform students than for Orthodox ones.

The online survey was conducted before Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, which caused an international increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

“This report … indicates that the scope of the problem is greater than most observers had realized,” said Kenneth Marcus, former head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Who participated in conducting the survey.

Barry Kosmin, one of the survey’s lead researchers, said, “The patterns and high rates of Antisemitism that were reported were surprising. Rather than being restricted to a few campuses or restricted to politically active or religious students, this problem is widespread. Jewish students are subjected to both traditional prejudice and the new political Antisemitism.”

Read original report here.