Anti-alcohol charities call last orders on Purim booze-ups

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Anti-alcohol charities call last orders on Purim booze-ups

Groups including the Public Intoxication Support Team urge London boroughs with sizeable Jewish communities to halt anti-social Purim partying, even after the pandemic.

Groups such as the Public Intoxication Support Team want to call time on scenes like this.
Groups such as the Public Intoxication Support Team want to call time on scenes like this.

A coalition of charities campaigning to toughen alcohol laws in the UK have penned an open letter calling for public Purim celebrations to be outlawed because they “promote excessive drinking”.

Alcoholism Care & Treatment (ACT), the Campaign for Alcohol Limits (CAL), and the nationwide Public Intoxication Support Team (PIST) came together to urge London boroughs with large Jewish populations to put a stop to Purim partying, even after the pandemic.

In a joint letter, they said the “sight of drunken Jews on the streets shouting into the night is not only unedifying but dangerous in its message to the young, relating intoxication to a religious celebration”.

The charities called on the government to “seriously consider outlawing the public celebrations of a festival for which the celebrants are specifically encouraged to imbibe large quantities of alcohol”.

They also argued that not to do so would be “inconsistent with the health warnings mandated by the government on alcohol labelling in the UK”.

In separate letters, they urged councils including Hackney, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge to crack down, including “issuing penalty notices” to those appearing drunk on the streets.

“Freedom of religion is one thing, encouraging young Jewish teenagers to get blind drunk then hang out of moving open-sided lorries through London’s streets in quite another,” said coalition spokesman Vic Hayman.

A Board of Deputies’ social responsibility officer said: “Purim celebrates the failure of a mission to kill the Jews of Persia, with deep historic resonance to our giving of gifts and drinking of alcohol. PIST et al would do well to remember that. They tried to take our booze, they didn’t succeed. Let’s drink.”

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