Keir Starmer praises community for ‘rising to occasion’ in Rosh Hashanah message

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Keir Starmer praises community for ‘rising to occasion’ in Rosh Hashanah message

Labour's leader thanks the community for work during the coronavirus pandemic, and reaffirms a commitment to rid his party of antisemitism

Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has wished the Jewish community a happy new year, praising it for “rising to the occasion” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reaffirming his pledge to rid the Party of antisemitism, which became the defining issue of Jewish-Labour relations during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, he said Sukkot would mark his first six months in the job and that progress was being made.

“I have been proud to strengthen existing friendships while also establishing new ties right across the Jewish community and its organisations,” he said.

“In my acceptance speech, I committed to tearing out the poison of antisemitism by its roots… There is more to do, and at this most fitting time of the year, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, I reaffirm my pledge to the Jewish community.”

Starmer said the High Holy Days were “a period of deep reflection and solemnity,” adding: “This year it feels more significant than ever.”

He said: “In these past six months, like every other part of Britain, the Jewish community has experienced pain, isolation and hardship brought about by Covid-19.

“My thoughts are particularly with those who are alone, those who are vulnerable and most tragically, those in the community who have been bereaved. As always, the Jewish community has risen to the occasion.

“The spirit of volunteerism and multiple acts of compassion, of Chesed, have brought light where there has been darkness.”

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