British MPs unveil guide to tackling antisemitism at major Berlin conference

By Marcus Dysch, March 15, 2016
John Mann and Sir Eric Pickles launching the best practice guide in Berlin (Photo: Oli Sandler Photography)

John Mann and Sir Eric Pickles launching the best practice guide in Berlin (Photo: Oli Sandler Photography)

A large delegation of British Parliamentarians, including Justice Secretary Michael Gove, has attended the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) conference in Berlin.

Led by All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism chair John Mann, almost a dozen MPs and peers travelled to Germany, including Sir Eric Pickles, the government’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues.

On Tuesday, Mr Mann and Sir Eric launched a British guide to best practices in combating antisemitism which came from last year’s all-party inquiry into Jew-hate.

The guide, backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, outlines the need for strong political leadership and cross-party representation, including from experienced and younger politicians.

It also provides information for foreign groups on the best ways to tackle antisemitism in the media, in football and other aspects of cultural life.

Mr Mann said: "While we will not stop fighting antisemitism in the UK, it is important we share our learning to date with other parliaments across the world so that they can benefit from our experience.

“Only by sharing and through the exchange of ideas and information will we better be able to tackle the global scourge of anti-Jewish hatred."

In his speech to the conference on Tuesday, Mr Gove outlined the “resurgent” level of antisemitism in Europe.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove addressed the conference on Tuesday

Justice Secretary Michael Gove addressed the conference on Tuesday

“Today, antisemitism targets the collective identity of the Jewish people. Jewish citizens of European nations are targeted if they dare to assert the dignity of their difference,” he said.

Tackling the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, Mr Gove said it “indulges prejudice rather than fighting it. It calls for the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimisation of Jewish commerce. We have seen these all before, and we know where it takes us”.

Mr Gove highlighted the government’s efforts to stop local authorities and public bodies boycotting Israel – “outlawing prejudice paid for by public money”.

“We have made clear that local authorities and public bodies cannot adopt BDS policies aimed at Israel; they cannot use public resources to discriminate against Jewish people, Jewish goods and a Jewish state,” he said, before paying tribute to the Jewish Human Rights Watch group, which has worked to counter boycotts.

Jewish peers Lord Mendelsohn and Lord Polak were also part of the delegation, along with Labour MPs Wes Streeting and Luciana Berger, and Conservatives Guto Bebb and David Burrowes.

Last updated: 9:51am, March 16 2016