Strong Muslim-Jewish relationship is vital

By Vivian Wineman, August 28, 2014

Many in the community will share the Board of Deputies' deep concern about the rise in antisemitism in the UK during the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The Board is looking to tackle this challenge on a number of levels: We are seeking a meeting with the Home Secretary, have secured a meeting with the BBC, lobbied politicians, and intervened at the highest levels to reverse the Tricycle Theatre's recent abysmal decision.

But we need allies outside the community. Here, the Board's longstanding commitment to interfaith relations is bearing fruit, with strong condemnation of the recent rise in antisemitism from the Archbishop of Canterbury down.

But the nature of the Israel-Gaza conflict makes it particularly important for leading Muslim organisations to speak out.

We are not naïve when it comes to these organisations, but where we share common goals such as over religious slaughter or the far right we have lobbied effectively with groups like the Muslim Council of Britain.

Some may find it uncomfortable, yet the power of the statement released today is precisely because it is the MCB which is saying "we must not import conflict" and "we condemn any expression of Antisemitism".

By explicitly condemning intimidation, "when expressing views in the media, on the streets, outside shops or online", the MCB is directly addressing those whose passions about the conflict can lapse into antisemitism.

A strong Muslim-Jewish relationship is of vital strategic importance to both communities. It will not always be easy.

But it is absolutely crucial that we do not import conflict. We need to export peace instead.

    Last updated: 3:24pm, August 28 2014