Fighting anti-Semitism will “go hand in hand” with the pursuit of Middle East peace as a focus for a Labour Government, Ed Miliband said today.
In an unprecedented statement posted on his personal Facebook page, the Labour leader spoke of Anglo-Jewry’s “growing concern” about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents over the summer and the “shocking” online attacks faced by Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman in recent days. He reiterated his call for social media companies to do everyting within its power to crackdown.
Saying the rise in incidents should serve as a wake-up call for those who believed anti-Semitism had been defeated, he added: “Some have told me how, for the first time in their lifetime, they are scared for their children’s future in our country. Others have expressed a general unease that this rise in anti-Semitism could signal that something has changed – or is changing – in Britain.
“I take these concerns very seriously because it is the responsibility of all to ensure that Britain’s traditions of respect and tolerance are upheld.”
Miliband drew on his own background as the son of refugees from the Shoah, saying he was proud of the country’s record for “diversity, tolerance and respect”. And he added: “We need a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK and to reaffirm our revulsion to it in all its forms. The Labour Party has always been at the forefront of fighting intolerance.
“We will continue to be so. That is why should be constantly asking what more government should do to combat anti-Semitism in Britain.”
He said crisis involving Israel “can never be an excuse” for ant-Semitism “just as conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East can never justify Islamophobia”.
“All of us need to use calm and responsible language in the way we discuss Israel, especially when we disagree with the actions of its government. A zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms here in Britain will go hand-in-hand with the pursuit of peace in the Middle East as a key focus of the next Labour government’s foreign policy.”