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Anti-Semitism - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:20 pm on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing) 2:20 pm, 13th September 2018

My Lords, I refer to my interests as vice-chairman of the New Israel Fund UK and as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. It is deeply disappointing that this appalling manifestation of racism should still be with us, especially in the light of the dreadful history of the 20th century. It is especially troubling that there are people who are in denial about the problem, with some people in the party that I joined 58 years ago refusing to accept that it exists, even when Jeremy Corbyn has, belatedly, recognised it and pledged to eliminate it.

Let us be clear that this is not just a matter for the Labour Party. All three major parties have encountered the problem to some degree. But there has for some time been a rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including violence and vandalism, and latterly a tidal wave of vile abuse and threats through social media—perhaps in this area it is better labelled anti-social media—to which Jewish Labour MPs, particularly women, have been subjected. Members of your Lordships’ House will join me in paying tribute to their courage in the face of such appalling treatment.

The Community Security Trust has for 24 years worked to promote the safety of the Jewish community and is now also assisting the Muslim community, which has also been subjected to racism. The trust deserves our gratitude and continued support. Two areas require urgent attention. The first is the problem of social media and the failure of the industry to tackle misuse. The second is the need to do more to promote the concept of a tolerant, multi-ethnic society through our education system, starting from a young age.