Jewish charities publish social action manifesto

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

A group of prominent Jewish charities committed to social justice and climate change has published a joint manifesto for the forthcoming election.

The Jewish Social Action Forum document urges whichever party wins the election to act on poverty, global conflict and refugee issues as well as the environment.

The manifesto begins with a strong commitment to green issues. "The Jewish religion strongly believes in the notion of stewardship - that the world does not belong to us but that it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations."

The manifesto avoids all mention of conflict in the Middle East, emphasising instead the role of the Jewish community in the campaign to end the conflict in Darfur. It also calls for action on poverty in Britain and pledges support for the Citizens for Sanctuary, a campaign to secure justice for people fleeing persecution endorsed by the Chief Rabbi.

The forum comprises the Jewish Volunteer Network (Tzedek), the human rights organisation RenéCassin, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, the Big Green Jewish website and the Jewish Community Centre for London.

"Social justice is at the core of what it means to be Jewish and the manifesto reflects the variety of concerns held by members of our community in the run-up to the general election," said Hannah Weisfeld, chair of the Jewish Social Action Forum and JCC Social Action and Campaigns Co-ordinator.

She added: "We hope this manifesto will be used by individuals to inform their voting choices and that political parties in the UK will take note of what we perceive to be the critical issues of the day."

Sarah Kaiser, director of RenéCassin, said: "This manifesto ensures that a Jewish voice will be heard calling upon the political parties to uphold human rights concerns at the upcoming election and beyond.

"We are particularly keen for all parties to recognise the importance of the Human Rights Act and to end the detention of vulnerable asylum seekers."

The full manifesto can be read at

    Last updated: 2:23pm, March 25 2010