Europe

Veteran Labour MP Condemns Anti-Semitism in Parliamentary Speech

Labour MP John Mann made an impassioned speech against Jew-hate during the last Prime Minister’s Question of the year on Wednesday, saying, “A disturbing large number of young Jewish people are questioning whether they should remain in this country.”

The Jewish Chronicle reported that the parliamentarian and veteran campaigner, who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, called on opponents of Jew-hate to “stand up and be counted” in 2019 to ensure Jewish people “stay in this country wishing to contribute and no longer fearing for their future.”

Mann observed that “For almost 400 years this country almost uniquely in the world has been a place of safety and security and a place where Jewish communities have thrived.” He cautioned, however, that “Many in the Jewish community are questioning whether this will be the case going into the future.”

During the session in parliament, Mann urged Prime Minister Theresa May to support his appeal for action over anti-Semitism in 2019, to which the prime minister replied that she “absolutely agreed with him.” May added that she “never thought I would see the day when Jewish people questioned staying in this country.”

The prime minister noted that this was a “terrible” state of affairs and said she was “very pleased” to host a November reception for the recent “ground-breaking” Sara Conference on the “twin evils of misogyny and antisemitism.”

Mann’s speech came a day before his colleague, Labour MP Ivan Lewis, announced Thursday that he would quit the party over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis that has rocked the institution since he took office in 2015. Lewis said he could not reconcile his “Jewish identity with current Labour politics.

Addressing Corbyn personally, the MP said in a letter, “It is for others to determine whether you are antisemitic but what is absolutely clear is that you and Seamus Milne [Corbyn’s spokesman] do not believe in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own state.”

Lewis added, “All too often you have been unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jew hatred. This is incompatible with being a lifelong campaigner against racism.”

[Sussex Friends of Israel / Facebook ]