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