Work needed on integration
THE GOVERNMENT’S drive to promote “shared British values” has led some Jews to think their “religious practice and traditional views are seen unfavourably”, the Jewish Leadership Council has claimed.
In its response to the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, which is intended to tackle extremism, the JLC said: “Jews feel as if they have been caught between the fight against extremism and the secularisation it has promoted.”
Published on Monday, the JLC document added: “This is far from ideal and we feel much work is needed to address this.”
The umbrella group said it was also concerned about the government’s suggestion that “British values” should be promoted to tackle extremism.
“Rightly or wrongly, for many the term has negative connotations. Many instinctively know what is meant by it, but for many it is a hostile term,” the JLC said. “Promoting why it is something which defends everyone is crucial to detoxifying the term.”
The JLC supported the Green Paper’s assertion that “integration is not assimilation”.
It said the Jewish community “is a successful case study of how you can feel confident and proud of your identity while recognising and valuing your relationship with, and responsibility to, other groups and to wider society.”
The report added: “Loyalty to the state is not contradictory to adhering to the Jewish faith.”
The JLC’s report highlights the work of World Jewish Relief, which has run programmes to integrate Syrian refugees through work placements. It also considers the work of CST on hate crime monitoring and reporting and the work of Lead, which promotes leadership development across all Jewish communal denominations.
The government’s green paper was released in March in response to the Casey Review, which looked into “opportunity and integration”.
At its launch, Theresa May said the government’s vision was of “building strong integrated communities where people live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities”
For many, ‘British values’ is a hostile term — JLC