Voice of the Jewish News: Leaders who lead

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Voice of the Jewish News: Leaders who lead

This week's editorial looks the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council's Enough Is Enough rally to unite the community

Jonathan Arkush speaking at the Enough Is Enough rally
Jonathan Arkush speaking at the Enough Is Enough rally

Another week, another angry statement about Labour anti-Semitism written by despairing community leaders, impotent in the face of the party’s lacklustre attitude. Meanwhile, we are reduced to shouting at the TV news and talking around the dinner table about our fears being mocked and belittled.

However, this week, the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council changed the narrative, in dramatic and unprecedented fashion. Within 48 hours, they came up with plans for Monday’s ‘Enough is enough’ rally, organised the logistics, encouraged thousands to attend (members of the Jewish community alongside MPs), and attracted wall-to-wall media coverage. None of this was easy or inevitable. They put aside the fact such action against an official Opposition was unprecedented and Jeremy Corbyn could yet be prime minister.

The result was an awesome public display of community unity, making clear that Jews fearful about Labour are the mainstream majority, no matter how many tweets sent by their co-religionists who insist the issue is exaggerated.

The events will make a difference where it counts most – the highest levels of the Labour Party. In response to the initiative of protest and publicity, Corbyn finally acknowledged that anti-Semitism cases have often not been dealt with quickly enough. These are all-important words that ought to have been said two years ago.

Our community has gone further than ever before and has forced the Labour leader to go much further than he previously dared do. The sight of upwards of 2,000 people demonstrating against his party’s record on racism must surely have shaken a man who proudly talks of his mother taking to Cable Street to oppose anti-Semitism. The acid test will be whether he acts when the media glare subsides. And when he says there needs to be a greater understanding of anti-Semitism, is he ready to include himself him in that?  Judging by his flat responses to our questions to him on Wednesday, we’re not hold out much hope.

Another aspect of Monday’s demonstration giving hope to our community is the Board and JLC emphatically  joining forces to pull off a devastating master stroke.

It’s all too easy to knock those who choose to put their heads above the parapet and lead. This week, especially, let’s recognise what they do and loudly applaud it.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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