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Bored with Brexit? You’re not alone

If, like Michael Gove, you have had enough of hearing from experts on Brexit, then Monday evening’s Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council event could have been for you.

    (Left to right) Daniel Hannan, Sandy Rashty (event chair) and Louise Ellman in Parliament on Monday
    (Left to right) Daniel Hannan, Sandy Rashty (event chair) and Louise Ellman in Parliament on Monday

    Given that we already know how difficult it is to be specific about what leaving the European Union will mean for the Jewish community, the session in Parliament was light on detail.

    As impressive an orator as Daniel Hannan is, aside from hammering home a point about the EU’s “disproportionate focus on Israel”, the Conservative MEP delivered little other than rehashed general Leave lines with a bit of Jewish content thrown in.

    Louise Ellman, the Jewish Labour MP, more than amply filled in for Lord Adonis, who had been set to oppose Mr Hannan’s points but was detained in the Lords discussing, of all things, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. 

    But it was left mainly to the non-politicians in the audience to make an impact. Rabbi Avrohom Pinter said he was scared he might need to leave Britain “because of the erosion of religious life, rather than the rise of antisemitism”, which prompted a proper discussion on whether Jewish life would improve after we leave the EU.

    Baroness Deech, the academic and crossbench peer, meanwhile cited the worsening of Jewish life in half a dozen countries across mainland Europe, concluding: “I don’t know how you can say Jews are safer in Europe.”

    The audience of around 40 people included a substantial number under the age of 35 — a rarity for Jewish community events. 

    Almost two years into the belated national debate on our future in, or rather out of, the EU, the community now needs to hear more from organisations such as Jewish Care, Norwood and the Community Security Trust on the specifics of exactly how Brexit will affect them, and thus, us.

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