Work needed on in­te­gra­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

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

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