TWO VOICES: Do protests against neo-Nazis risk giving extra attention?

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TWO VOICES: Do protests against neo-Nazis risk giving extra attention?

Two Voices
Two Voices

In this week’s Two Voices, we discuss how we should react to the planned neo-Nazi demonstration in Golders Green, against ‘Jewish Privilege.’

Two Voices

Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan

Nick Ryan says…

Hope not hate does not “protest”, as such – something our opponents on the extreme Right frequently fail to understand. We feel much more can be achieved within a community by working with key partners and local people to strengthen community bonds (or help forge them if they don’t exist).

As with Golders Green Together, we’ll do that by organising within the community and having positive community-oriented events and actions rather than “counter-demonstrating” directly against a far-right group.

This is an approach we’ve honed over a decade of community organising across the UK and within diverse local situations, and why our message is listened to when it comes to election time. We wouldn’t oppose anyone wishing to counter-demonstrate against neo-Nazis; we just don’t think it’s the most effective response.

We feel it’s important to be centred within the community, not coming in from outside and possibly complicating the situation on the day. There is, of course, a danger extremists will seek the oxygen of publicity or provoke violence and enforce a crackdown on minority communities. To prevent that means working closely with local communities and highlighting what unites – rather than divides – us all.

• Nick Ryan is communications director of HOPE not hate

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith says…

According to the rabbis, the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed because of groundless hatred. According to Psalm 89 the world will be built by love, olam chesed yibaneh. What about Golders Green?

This part of London is home to the highest concentration of Jews of all denominations in the UK and has been since the early 20th century. It is also home to a remarkable diversity of other faiths: Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.

We have all come together under the guidance of the London Jewish Forum and Hope not hate to create Golders Green Together, telling the real story of Golders Green. Over the next fortnight we will celebrate what it means to live in a place of mutual respect where hate has no place. A small group of laughable fascists at the Golders Green war memorial could not be less relevant to the area.

So on 4 July at Alyth, the Reform shul, the heart of Golders Green since 1933, we will celebrate a joyful batmitzvah, hear a brilliant rabbi from Israel, parallel this with a musical Tefillah Jam and then come together as a community for a welcoming kiddush.

We will then walk out into the reality of Golders Green as our fellow Jews return from shul among their neighbours of all faiths and none.

• Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Alyth (North Western Reform Synagogue)

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