NJA Hosts Open Forum With General Election Candidates

Approximately 150 participants engaged directly with Parliamentary candidates from the five main political parties, discussing policies and issues critical to the Jewish community, including Israel and antisemitism, at a two hour Zoom event organised by the National Jewish Assembly.

The five speakers, all of whom are contesting seats with large Jewish communities, were Ameet Jogia, Conservative candidate for Hendon; Christian Wakeford, Labour candidate for Bury South; Catherine Becker, Reform UK candidate for Hampstead and Highgate; Nicola Payne, Green Party candidate for Birmingham Edgbaston; and Reetendra Banerji, Liberal Democrat candidate for Harrow East. This event provided an invaluable opportunity for attendees to hear first-hand the candidates’ stances on vital matters ahead of the general election.

Key issues discussed during the forum included Israel’s need to defend itself, with candidates expressing their positions on Israel’s sovereignty and its right to self-defense amidst ongoing conflicts. There was a robust debate on each party’s stance regarding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and the implications for regional stability and peace. Candidates also addressed how their parties would respond to the pro-Palestine marches in the UK, which have been marred by hate speech and antisemitism.

In addition to these topics, the discussion covered the desire for improved police funding and training to effectively deal with hate crimes and ensure the safety of all communities. The candidates outlined their plans to enhance the security of Jewish communities across the UK, addressing the alarming increase in antisemitism and presenting their strategies to combat this pervasive issue.

NJA Chairman Gary Mond commented, “This election candidates forum was a vital platform for our community to engage with political leaders and hear their commitments to addressing the issues that matter most to us. We are grateful to them for their participation and to the attendees for their thoughtful questions and engagement.”

The NJA remains committed to facilitating informed dialogue and ensuring that the voices of the Jewish community are heard in the political arena. This forum was a significant step towards achieving that goal, providing clarity and insight for voters ahead of the upcoming general election.

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