British Jews need US-style anti-defamation league says ex-MP

A British version of the American Anti-Defamation League should be formed to increase efforts to tackle antisemitism, a senior communal figure has claimed.

Former MP Eric Moonman said “enemies of the Jews have got away with it for a long time” and urged the community to fight back.

The 101-year-old ADL challenges anti-Jewish bigotry in the United States and has become one of that country’s leading human rights organisations.

Professor Moonman said a replica group could be used to provide a rapid “intellectual reaction” and response to attacks.

The Zionist Federation president floated his idea in a session at the Liverpool Limmud conference, and said he had received a positive response.

He said: “Our critics and enemies have, in various ways through the boycott of Israel and media prejudice, made Israel the main thrust of their actions.

“We for our part should not be deceived, as it is not just Israel but Jews who are in their sights. We need to deal with this sooner rather than later.”

The Community Security Trust currently monitors antisemitism in Britain. Prof Moonman said he respected the work of “existing organisations”, but felt adopting an approach similar to that of the ADL would provide an opportunity to “hammer home” the anti-prejudice message.

Prof Moonman said British Jewry was “too concerned about internal problems and issues” such as the possibility of a Board of Deputies merger with the Jewish Leadership Council, and did not focus enough on tackling external attacks on Jews.

Last updated: 11:15am, April 4 2014