LBC host Maajid Nawaz has been honoured by pro-Israel group StandWithUs UK for his work fighting antisemitism.
Over 2,000 households tuned in to the first virtual gala in aid of the charity’s work combatting antisemitism and supporting Israel.
At the event, Mr Nawaz was presented with the ‘Beacon of Light’ Award by StandWithUs Israel executive director Michael Dickson, who presented the event.
In an interview with Dickson, the LBC presenter recalled his journey from radical terrorist-sympathiser to anti-extremist campaigner as he spoke of how he gained a better understanding of Israel after visiting as part of a parliamentary tour.
“I learned on that visit just how one-sided my view had been – I saw mosques on the beaches of Tel Aviv with the ‘Azan’ (call to prayer) playing on loudspeakers – that’s more than you have in Britain!”, he said.
Hailing the recent peace agreements between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, Mr Nawaz congratulated StandWithUS student leaders, including Muslim pro-Israel students, for their work, telling them to “get ahead of that curve and be the ambassadors for peace, ambassadors of the future”. Maajid Nawaz previously won the Jewish News’ Community Ally award at the Night of Heroes.
Tributes were made to former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who won the award in 2018. StandWithUs UK chair, Loretta Cash introduced footage of Rabbi Lord Sacks, calling him “a beacon of light for all faiths”. In the video, filmed earlier this year, Rabbi Lord Sacks said that StandWithUs “one of the great Jewish organisations of our time”. In the video he also gave a powerful address to the charity’s student leaders, saying “you are all Israel’s ambassadors – and the work you have to do it vital. I salute you, I congratulate you – may you succeed in changing minds and opening hearts.”
The charity evening included powerful testimonials from both Jewish and non-Jewish students who have been supported by StandWithUs to counter antisemitism and educate others about Israel. While Simon Appleman, deputy headteacher of JFS, explained the importance of the StandWithUs sixth-form programmes in preparing students before they get to university.
All of the donations made during the gala are going directly to StandWithUs work and will be doubled by an anonymous donor.
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