In her first visit to a synagogue since her controversial inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party, Baroness Chakrabarti addressed a packed Maidenhead Reform meeting on tolerance and intolerance.
The Shadow Attorney General said the Brexit referendum had unleashed hostile reactions towards immigrants, who were unfairly blamed for financial problems which had nothing to do with them. “Are we nastier than previous generations, or is it just that some people have a platform now [social media] that was not available for them to be heard before?”
Her greatest concern was the inequality faced by women, be it in countries where they were denied basic rights, or in Britain, where access to many jobs was blocked.
During questions, a number of audience members described her antisemitism report as a whitewash.
Baroness Chakrabarti responded that many had commented on it without having read it. Numerous instances of antisemitism had been listed and condemned, particularly on campus.
It had led to rule changes that would allow the expulsion of Labour members for antisemitism.
“There was a mixed reaction to her views,” said Rabbi Jonathan Romain, who chaired the event. “But having emphasised in her talk the need to disagree well, she epitomised that message by asserting her points gracefully.”