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Anti-Semitism - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:54 pm on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Pickles Lord Pickles Conservative 1:54 pm, 13th September 2018

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Popat, on this timely debate. I am the UK delegation leader for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. I was part of the team that persuaded the IHRA to accept this definition. It was necessary because anti-Semitism in all its forms is growing right across Europe; it has been accelerated by the growth of ultra-nationalism and its marriage to social media. It is also necessary because of the way that anti-Semitism has changed and adapted. In particular, it now hides behind, for example, criticism of Israel or support for Palestinian rights. It is less obviously hidden by attacks on Zionism. The repackaging of these old anti-Semitic tropes is perhaps the most horrible aspect of this. Even the blood libel has been repackaged and reworked for a modern audience. It is all designed to make Jewish citizens feel uncomfortable. We might suggest that they lack irony; that they are not capable of understanding the culture of their own country; that they somehow have an alliance to another country outside the United Kingdom.

We have seen in Europe what happens when the Jewish community is taken out of a country and seeks to migrate elsewhere: the very heart of that country is removed. I certainly believe that the Jewish identity is a fundamental part of the British identity. Without a vibrant Jewish community, this country would be a lesser place. As my noble friend said: enough is enough. Let us stand by our Jewish friends.