Board hailed for stand­ing up to ha­tred

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY LIFE -

COM­BAT­ING AN­TISEMITISM is the model for stamp­ing out ha­tred in Bri­tain and forg­ing in­ter-com­mu­nal co­he­sion, two lead­ing Mersey­side politi­cians told Sun­day’s Board of Deputies meet­ing at Liver­pool’s town hall.

Prais­ing the Board for its work with the All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on An­tisemitism, River­side Labour MP Louise Ell­man said that anti-Jewish sen­ti­ment and the elec­toral ad­vances of the BNP were is­sues that res­onated be­yond na­tional borders.

The Board, she de­clared, was “stand­ing up for all peo­ple to take a pos­i­tive stand against hate”.

Mrs Ell­man is the first MP for some years to be­come a deputy, join­ing the Board re­cently as a del­e­gate of the Jewish Labour Move­ment. The Board’s pres­i­dent, Henry Grun­wald, be­lieves her in­volve­ment will en­hance its po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence.

The other key­note ad­dress on Sun­day was by Lib­eral Demo­crat peer Lord Al­ton, who sup­ported Holo­caust re­mem­brance as a pro­to­type for pro­mot­ing in­ter­faith un­der­stand­ing. He linked the his­toric per­se­cu­tion of Catholics to con­tem­po­rary is­sues such as Dar­fur and the alien­ation and rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion of Mus­lims.

“If they fully un­der­stood their own his­tory, English Catholics would be in a par­tic­u­larly good po­si­tion to reach out to young Mus­lims liv­ing in Bri­tain to­day,” the peer rea­soned.

In his pres­i­dent’s state­ment, Mr Grun­wald re­flected that the Board’s lo­cal elec­tion cam­paign against the BNP had en­cour­aged other mi­nor­ity groups to make their voices heard at the bal­lot box.

How­ever, the far-right party had gained a Lon­don As­sem­bly seat and could be suc­cess­ful in the up­com­ing Euro-elec­tions, mak­ing this “a year of op­por­tu­nity for the BNP”.

Barely 50 deputies were at the meet­ing — the Board’s an­nual re­gional ses­sion — less than half the at­ten­dance at its Lon­don gath­er­ings.

The low turnout was partly at­trib­uted to the early start re­quired of Lon­don­ers wish­ing to travel on the day.

Liver­pool was cho­sen to re­flect the Jewish com­mu­nity’s con­tri­bu­tion to the city’s Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture sta­tus and del­e­gates were wel­comed by the new Lord Mayor, Coun­cil­lor Steve Rother­ham.

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