All Party Report: MPs highlight shul security and internet hate


Dozens of recommendations to government, evidence from hundreds of witnesses across Europe, and the support of every leading politician in Britain — the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism represents one of the past decade’s most detailed accounts of how Jews are abused in Britain.

Published this week, the 120-page document aims to re-draw the way authorities tackle antisemitism.

Its recommendations include: calls for the establishment of a fund to cover the cost of synagogue security in Britain; a review of how hate crimes are committed on social media and the introduction of banning orders for internet trolls; a national review of interfaith work, and police forces to restructure how they monitor anti-Israel protests for antisemitism.

John Mann, the Labour MP who chairs the all-party group, initiated the inquiry when antisemitic incidents rose sharply last summer during Israel’s conflict in Gaza.

Marking the launch of the report at Lambeth Palace on Monday, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said its publication was “extraordinarily timely. With great clarity, the committee have communicated both the stark reality of rising antisemitism in this country, and the key responses necessary to counter it”.

He cited two paragraphs relating to themes in antisemitic discourse such as anti-Zionism and conspiracy theories, and the connection of Jews to Israel, and said they had “particular impact.

“Despite our failings, of which I am more than aware and often deeply embarrassed by, as the Church of England we commit ourselves to be both accountable and to hold others to account, and to pay attention to this report,” he said.

He also called on social media companies to do more to ban abusive users from their networks.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said there was “a compelling need” for society to rally around the Jewish community.

“We need to modernise the fight against antisemitism and to recognise the internet is now the principal theatre of battle in that regard, and adjust accordingly,” he said.

The launch was attended by dozens of parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. Mr Mann said his team was keen to ensure that its work would be acted on regardless of who is in government after May’s election.

He said: “Whichever of us are re-elected, there will be a group in parliament holding the next government to account and to ensure the work is carried out. By the end of the next parliament, we need to be in a position where no Jewish 16- or 17-year-old feels or thinks that they have no future in this great country of ours. That’s the measure of success we need to see.”

The report was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who described it as hugely important. “Tackling antisemitism goes right to the heart of what we stand for as a country. This report has a vital role to play.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was resolved “to work together to tackle antisemitism in all its forms”.

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, said the government would work with the community “to make sure that Jews do not feel threatened in Britain.”

Mr Mann’s inquiry team, including APPG director Danny Stone, collected evidence from across Britain and travelled around Europe to see how antisemitism was combated in other countries.

Hundreds of antisemitic incidents were highlighted, as well as a comprehensive explanation of how anti-Israel activism affected the Jewish community following the Gaza conflict.

The impact of the protests outside the Israeli-owned Kedem store in Manchester, boycotts of kosher goods by Sainsbury’s, and the abandonment of the Jewish Film Festival by a London theatre were all considered.

One section focuses on cases in which politicians and others “were conceived as exacerbating intolerance or abuse and distrust of others”.

Case studies included Bradford East MP David Ward’s tweets about his willingness to fire rockets on Israel and a newspaper column by former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott in which he likened Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis.

The inquiry panel noted the “frustration, upset and shock that was registered with us” over Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow’s personal report about children in Gaza affected by the conflict.

The channel had been “cynical at best… in what appears to have been an attempt to avoid regulatory oversight by Ofcom. This sets a worrying precedent,” the panel said.

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