From our Managing Director: The Jewish Community Demands Answers for the Upcoming General Election

As the general election looms, it is imperative that the Jewish community in the UK engages in a sober and informed discussion about the policies and platforms of each party. This is not merely an exercise in civic duty; it is a crucial step in ensuring that our community’s interests are adequately represented and protected. Given the diverse political persuasions within our community, a thorough examination of the candidates and their positions is essential.

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) is stepping up to facilitate this process by planning a candidates forum in the coming weeks where election hopefuls can present their views and engage directly with our community. This event is designed not only to inform but also to provide a platform for our concerns to be heard. It is an opportunity for us to take a sense check of where the candidates stand on issues critical to the Jewish community.

Recent statements from Labour, for instance, have raised significant concerns. The party has indicated its willingness to comply with potential International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants for Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy, has signalled Labour’s intent to arrest the Israeli leaders, regardless of whether it risks undermining Israel’s right to self-defence and the obvious severe diplomatic repercussions.

Moreover, Labour’s position on recognising a Palestinian state is another point of contention. Opposition leader Keir Starmer has expressed a desire to recognise a Palestinian state if Labour wins power. However, unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at this juncture does nothing to advance peace. Instead, it rewards terrorists who commit heinous acts of murder, rape, and other atrocities against civilians. Recognising a state without a functioning unified government, without a citizenry, and without clear territorial boundaries is not just premature; it epitomises tokenism.

Such a move would send a dangerous message: that the international community is willing to legitimise entities that do not meet the basic criteria of statehood simply for the sake of political expediency. This is a nebulous and shameful idea that does nothing to promote genuine peace and stability in the region.

The Green Party’s extreme anti-Israel bias also requires serious scrutiny. The Greens have repeatedly called for an end to all arms sales to Israel and for scaling up actions against the Israeli government. A Green candidate in Bristol allegedly shared a video justifying the October 7 massacres by Hamas and describing Israel as “a cancer that should be eradicated.” Then there’s recently-elected Leeds counsellor Mothin Ali, who exclaimed “”We will not be silenced. We will raise the voice of Gaza. We will raise the voice of Palestine. Allahu Akbar!” after winning a council seat.

Similarly, we must address the Conservative Party’s inconsistent messaging on the Israel-Hamas conflict. David Cameron’s flirtations with recognising a Palestinian state, the lip-service given to radicals advocating for an arms embargo on Israel, and the government’s reluctance to crack down on pro-Palestine marches demonstrate a troubling inconsistency.

The Jewish community must take a good hard look at the candidates and understand their positions on issues that affect us. This is not a time for complacency or for taking party loyalty for granted. The stakes are too high, and the implications for our community too profound.

The NJA’s candidates forum will be an invaluable opportunity to hear directly from those who seek our votes. We must ask pointed questions about their stances on antisemitism, their support for Israel, and their views on critical issues such as security, education, and social cohesion. This forum is our chance to demand clear answers and hold candidates accountable.

In the past, political parties have made commitments that did not always translate into action. As a community, we must be vigilant and discerning. We need to ensure that our voices are heard and that our concerns are addressed. This election is an opportunity to shape the future of our community and to ensure that we are represented by leaders who genuinely understand and support our needs.

As we approach the general election, let us remain committed to a thoughtful and thorough examination of the issues and candidates. Our future, and the future of the Jewish community in the UK, depends on it.

Steve Winston
Managing Director, National Jewish Assembly

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