Labour Finchley & Golders Green candidate: Weaponising antisemitism doesn’t help
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Labour Finchley & Golders Green candidate: Weaponising antisemitism doesn’t help

Barnet councillor Sara Conway tells Jewish News the issue has been "drummed up to such a level" by commentators.

Barnet councillor Sara Conway has been selected by Labour to run against incumbent Tory Mike Freer
Barnet councillor Sara Conway has been selected by Labour to run against incumbent Tory Mike Freer

Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Finchley and Golders Green said on Wednesday that the antisemitism row had been “drummed up to such a level” by commentators.

Barnet councillor Sara Conway, selected by Labour to run against incumbent Tory Mike Freer, spoke to Jewish News amid growing speculation a general election is imminent.

While stressing that she was not seeking to “dismiss or push back” claims, she said she felt the row had been “whipped up”.

“You can’t weaponise without there being a problem but this issue has been weaponised by certain media commentators. I don’t mean necessarily in the community,” she said.

“I think it has been used. Look, the EHRC is looking into this, I am not trying to dismiss or push back on anything at all but I think there has been an element  […] of the press and right-wing commentators that has drummed this up to such a level that it then becomes, if you look on Twitter, an endless back and forth that doesn’t work,” she added.

But Barnet Labour’s lead on communities and libraries also said she was “well aware” of concerns about the Labour leadership and had been active on the issue “from the start”.

She said: “I am very, very much a part of the community so I’ve heard and been aware of these issues for a long time. What has happened Labour-wise also came straight after the Israel-Gaza war and I think a feeling from the community of a very different way of how the community was perceived, rightly or wrongly.

“There was language. It felt a very horrible, uncomfortable time. That’s why I founded an interfaith Jewish Muslim women’s group at that time.”

Cllr Conway also pledged her commitment to ensuring Barnet Labour remains a safe space for Jews, describing her local party as “broadly very very supportive”, home to “moderate mainstream Jewish members.”

“Barnet Labour, we were at the ‘Enough is Enough demonstration. We’ve passed the IHRA, we passed that locally. We’ve called for action on Chris Williamson. My chair and I are waiting for a meeting with Jennie Formby to discuss the need for an independent system, on all cases, not just antisemitism, but on racism, homophobia, et cetera,” she said.

Later on, Cllr Conway expressed concern about the planned date for the snap general election that could disenfranchise religious voters if the vote falls during Sukkot.

“I don’t think it’s right,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how people are voting. I don’t think it’s great that it’s on Sukkot at all and I know that the postal vote can be difficult from what I understand, particularly with some of the communities.

“They should do it the 16th or the week before. It’s a busy month for Jewish communities.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments