Minister pledges to fight hate

By Bernard Josephs, July 17, 2008
Follow The JC on Twitter

A government minister committed financial backing this week to help combat antisemitism.

Jim Murphy, minister for Europe, made his pledge at the launch of a new London-based think-tank dedicated to combating the growth of antisemitic discourse and discrimination.

Mr Murphy said the government would fund the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism through the Department for Communities and Local Government.

“It is appalling that there is a need to launch an organisation such as this,” he told a packed meeting attended by MPs, members of the All-Party Inquiry into Antisemitism, and Jewish communal leaders. “It is unthinkable that antisemitism still exists, but it does.

“We are fully committed to supporting this initiative. We think there is real scope for this organisation to make a difference,” he said. The situation in the UK was undoubtedly better than in most other countries, “but we will never lose a moment to complacency”.

He sent a warning signal to those whose “anti-Israelism takes on an air of antisemitism”. In what was seen as a reference to Baroness Tonge, he said: “There can never, ever, be an excuse for suicide bombers. For politicians even to whisper an understanding of them is too loud.”

Mr Murphy is a former parliamentary chair of Labour Friends of Israel. The new institute is chaired by journalist Stephen Pollard.

    Last updated: 8:43am, July 17 2008