PM takes a break from Brexit to give pas­sion­ate speech on abuse

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

THERESA MAY de­liv­ered an im­pas­sioned speech con­demn­ing an­ti­semitism and misog­yny — only min­utes after leav­ing a gru­elling Com­mons ses­sion on her Brexit deal.

In a re­mark­able dis­play of en­ergy, the Prime Min­is­ter opted not to can­cel her ad­dress to a re­cep­tion at Down­ing Street for Sara Con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants de­spite hav­ing just spent more than three hours de­fend­ing her EU with­drawal agree­ment to MPs.

Speak­ing on Mon­day evening, the PM said it was “clear that, in 2018, Jewish women are un­der dual at­tack”.

Echo­ing the theme of the Sara Con­fer­ence at West­min­ster, she said MPs such as Lu­ciana Berger were “abused for be­ing women and abused for be­ing Jewish”.

Hint­ing at Labour’s an­ti­semitism cri­sis, Mrs

May said the abuse “does not al­ways come from the right.”

She added: “Ha­tred di­rected at Jewish women also comes from those who would never con­sider them­selves racist, in­clud­ing within the women’s rights move­ment. “Some Jewish women have been told they are not real fem­i­nists un­less they dis­en­tail Is­rael’s right to ex­ist.

“Or have been thrown off Pride marches be­cause they fea­ture the Star of David.

“Ac­tions are of­ten jus­ti­fied by the ca­nard that an­ti­semitism isn’t real racism. Well, I’ve no time for equiv­o­ca­tion. An­ti­semitism is racism.

“Any equal­ity move­ment that in­dulges or ig­nores it is not wor­thy of its name.”

The Prime Min­is­ter also men­tioned Claire Kober, the for­mer Haringey Coun­cil leader who had stepped down “after fac­ing a tor­rent of abuse in which she said the only thing worse than the sex­ism was the an­ti­semitism”.

Ms Kober was among those present at the Down­ing Street re­cep­tion along­side Labour MPs Ruth Smeeth, Lu­ciana Berger and Ian Austin. Also at the gath­er­ing were the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust chair­man Ger­ald Ron­son and deputy di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Dave Rich.

The Prime Min­is­ter also paid trib­ute to the work of an­other at­tendee, Karen Pol­lock of the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, prais­ing the HET’s “Lessons From Auschwitz” visit to Poland last week.

She said: “As the Chan­cel­lor an­nounced in last month’s Bud­get, we will also pro­vide £1.7 mil­lion for school pro­grammes, mark­ing the 75th an­niver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Ber­gen-Belsen.

“And we are con­tin­u­ing to sup­port the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, not just back­ing its Lessons From Auschwitz pro­gramme but ex­tend­ing it to cover uni­ver­si­ties. The first stu­dents and univer­sity lead­ers to take part in the new scheme trav­elled to Poland just last week.

“The HET is just one of many bod­ies work­ing hard to tackle the kind of prej­u­dices you dis­cussed at to­day’s con­fer­ence.”

She also had a mes­sage of grat­i­tude for the work of Labour’s John Mann, who chairs the All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on An­ti­semitism.

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