The Board of Deputies and JLC have published three separate “Jewish manifestos” for London, Scotland, and Wales, ahead of the forthcoming elections in May.
The detailed manifestos set out a series of issues affecting Jews in each of their local communities. Some of the recommendations, to which it is hoped individual candidates will sign up, are matched in each manifesto, while others are more specific, with individual “policy asks” relevant to the particular community. Board president Marie van der Zyl said: “As our society recovers from the pandemic, these manifestos provide a road map to elected representatives on how they can serve their Jewish constituents. Following the recommendations will help ensure that the [local] Jewish community is supported and valued.”
The Jewish Manifesto for London has been drafted by the London Jewish Forum, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. The community’s policy priorities are summarised in the manifesto’s “#TenCommitments” that candidates are being asked to support, which include implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, ensuring faith and culturally sensitive provision of public services and opposition to boycotts of Israel.
Adrian Cohen and Andrew Gilbert, co-chairs of the London Jewish Forum, said:“The last year has been incredibly tough for Londoners, including our Jewish community. This manifesto will give our elected officials a guide to addressing the needs of London’s Jewish community as we come out of this pandemic. We very much look forward to working with the next mayor, their team and the London Assembly to support the Jewish community.”
Among the “policy asks” in the London Jewish Manifesto are detailed concerns about transport routes which affect the Jewish community in the capital, including a renewed plea for the linking of bus routes between Stamford Hill and Golders Green, and a request to retain bus routes under threat in outlying areas of London — often relied on by Jewish school students.
In Wales, ahead of the Senedd elections, the Jewish community has launched its Jewish Manifesto in two languages — Welsh and English. It has been drafted by the South Wales Jewish Representative Council and the Board of Deputies. As with London, the community’s policy priorities are summarised in the #TenCommitments / #YDegYmrwtmiad. Laurence Kahn, chair of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council, said: “The Jewish Manifesto for Wales guides Senedd candidates on how they can ensure that Wales continues to be a great place to be Jewish. We urge them to support it.”
The Welsh Jewish Manifesto notes: “Jewish communities must not be forced out of the public square by antisemitism, and we must recognise that increasingly the public square is online. As part of a wider anti online hate strategy, the Welsh government should commit to combatting online antisemitism as well”.
Meanwhile in Scotland, where there are elections pending in Holyrood, there is a Jewish Manifesto drafted by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.
As with the other two manifestos, the Scottish one asks candidates in the elections to support its #TenCommitments, again including the implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, ensuring culturally sensitive provision of public services, promoting of links to Israel and supporting anti-racist education.
Noting that “there are Jewish people in every local authority area in Scotland, with substantial communities in the Glasgow area, and in Edinburgh and the Lothians, small but vibrant clusters in Tayside and Fife, and around Aberdeen, and significant numbers of Jewish individuals throughout the whole of Scotland”, the drafters point out that “although there is no single ‘Jewish view’ on many political issues, there is a great deal of unanimity on issues that directly affect the community, and throughout this document, we have sought to represent as much of that consensus as possible”.
A spokesperson for the organisations said: “The last year has been incredibly hard for everyone. So many people have lost, or know someone who has lost, a loved one. As Scotland recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic, this manifesto provides a guide for the next intake of MSPs (members of the Scottish Parliament) on how best to represent Jewish Scots. We look forward to working with the new Scottish Parliament and government on implementing our manifesto proposals, and we urge all candidates and elected representatives to endorse the principles summarised in the #TenCommitments to help ensure that Scotland continues to be a great place to be Jewish.”