George Floyd’s death a ‘wake up call’, says chief rabbi
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George Floyd’s death a ‘wake up call’, says chief rabbi

'We cannot stand idly by as it takes hold of our societies. However, it is also not enough for us to simply join in with a superficial chorus of disapproval'

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

George Floyd’s death in the US is an “essential wake up call for each and every one of us”, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said on Thursday.

“We cannot stand idly by as it [racism] takes hold of our societies. However, it is also not enough for us to simply join in with a superficial chorus of disapproval,” the chief rabbi said in a statement released on social media.

“Real change calls upon us to find the courage to challenge racism wherever we come across it: on social media, in the streets, in our communities and in our hearts,” he warned.

Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on 25 May, sparking days of protest in the US.

Prosecutors filed a tougher charge against the police officer at the centre of the George Floyd case on Wednesday and charged three other officers.

In his statement, Rabbi Mirvis added: “Jewish tradition teaches that one who saves a life has saved an entire world and one who destroys a life has destroyed an entire world.

“Such is the value we must place on each and every human life. That ‘Black Lives Matter’ needs affirming at all is utterly shameful. There is no doubt that this is an essential wake up call for each and every one of us.”

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