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Anti-Semitism - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:16 pm on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Sterling of Plaistow Lord Sterling of Plaistow Conservative 2:16 pm, 13th September 2018

My Lords, what a splendid address by my noble friend Lord Popat, spelling out the great shared values of the Hindu and Jewish communities. I am humbled by and proud of the contribution to mankind of the Jewish people, from their very early history through the dispersion to the present day. Of the 892 individuals who have been Nobel Prize winners since its inception, 201—22%—have been Jews or of Jewish descent.

On Sunday 18 November, the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women—AJEX—of which I have the honour to be president, will be marching in its annual Cenotaph parade, as it has done since 1934. In the First World War, more than 50,000 British Jews served, out of a community of 350,000. Likewise, in the Second World War, 60,000 served. A further 30,000 Jews who lived in the British Mandate for Palestine—now partly Israel—volunteered to serve this country. Very large numbers were killed and wounded in both wars and a significant number of Victoria Crosses, DSOs and other awards for bravery and distinguished service were awarded. I intend to lodge this information in the Library.

In the prayer that is used in synagogues for the Royal Family, the present Chief Rabbi introduced the following words: “May God bless and protect Her Majesty’s Armed Forces”. I, and unquestionably those in AJEX and their families, as well as those serving today—and, indeed, the vast majority of the Jewish community—would totally disagree with the view that many would leave this country if Corbyn got to power. We are proud British Jews. We will fight with all the weapons that a great democracy such as ours will allow us to use. What is splendid is that people such as the noble Lord, Lord Popat, all the other Peers here today and vast numbers of the British people would be alongside us in such a fight. It goes without saying that, like the Popats of this world, we Jews would also fight just as strongly for other ethnic minorities who found themselves under attack. Never again will we be carried away in cattle trucks.