Minister: Young Jews are finding friends don’t understand antisemitism
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Minister: Young Jews are finding friends don’t understand antisemitism

Communities secretary's comments came in Commons debate, where he fired a fresh warning shot to universities 'dragging their feet' on not adopting IHRA.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through central London holding signs and flags on Nakba Day. Thousands march towards the Israeli Embassy to rally in solidarity with the people of Palestine. At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza, including 39 children, after a spiral of violence that began with the eviction of Arabs from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Credit: Guy Corbishley/Alamy Live News
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through central London holding signs and flags on Nakba Day. Thousands march towards the Israeli Embassy to rally in solidarity with the people of Palestine. At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza, including 39 children, after a spiral of violence that began with the eviction of Arabs from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Credit: Guy Corbishley/Alamy Live News

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has warned that “a lot of young British Jews are discovering for the first time that their friends don’t understand antisemitism, can’t recognise it and don’t care that they are spreading it.”

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the minister spoke of the negative impact that the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was having on young people in the community.

“They are not responsible for the actions of a government thousands of miles away but are made to feel as if they are,” Jenrick warned.

“Seeing their friends post social media content that glorifies Hamas -an illegal, terrorist organisation, whose charter calls for every Jew in the world to be killed.”

Jenrick also issued a further warning that universities “dragging their feet” in adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism would be “named and shamed” by the government.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick with members of the Union of Jewish Students

Referring to Sunday’s incidents on the Finchley Road, Golders Green and Henson, Jenrick said: “I for one never thought I would see banners being held aloft on the streets of London, apparently with impunity, saying ‘death to Jews’ or individuals being allowed to drive for some time through neighbourhoods broadcasting antisemitic bile.”

He also appeared to suggest police could have reacted faster saying that “we need to ensure that our police services are equipped to take action quickly and robustly when this happens again in the fut​ure. The Home Secretary will be speaking again to her counterparts.”

This convoy of cars was filmed on the Finchley Road.

Securing an urgent question on rising antisemtism in the UK the Harlow MP Robert Halfon said:”Sadly after yesterday’s incidents, in which a mob drove through North London shouting antisemitic and sexual obscenities to Jewish residents and a Rabbi was beaten up in Chigwell in Essex, I fear, Jews no longer feel secure.”

He added:”In Harlow, just a few days ago swastikas were graffitied on walls in a public walkway, thankfully now removed.”

Halfon made reference to those he said “use the conflict in Israel as an excuse.”

He continued:” Whether it is the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen telling Jews to read negative articles about Jews, or NUS giving moral equivalence to antisemitism and, what they call, the “liberation of Palestine”.

“I remind the House that this so-called liberation is being conducted by Iranian-funded extreme Islamist terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for those found guilty of involvement in the convoy incidents in north London on Sunday to “feel the full force of the law.”

He added that “time and time again we see these attacks against the Jewish community.”

The Labour MP said he had contacted both the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust to offer the disgust of those who sit on his party’s frontbench at what happened in north London yesterday.

The Conservative MP Andrew Percy warned that antisemitism on campuses was being ignored. He also said language was used against Israel that is “not used if other conflicts” while Hamas built its terror tunnels.

Dame Margaret Hodge, the Jewish Labour Movement’s parliamentary chair, warned that discussion and disagreement about an international conflict should not morph into a national expression of hate.

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