Government's antisemitism adviser pledges 'most robust consequences' for Jew-haters

John Mann MP said he was determined to prevent 'good, young people' from leaving the UK due to antisemitism


The government's new antisemitism adviser has vowed to make sure that those responsible for the spreading of hatred against the Jewish people in this country face the "most robust consequences".

Speaking after his first public engagement in the new job at Finchley United Synagogue, Kinloss, last Shabbat, John Mann MP said he had accepted the role to prevent "good people, young people" from deciding they no longer belonged in the UK, or in Europe, because of rising anti-Jewish racism.

Mr Mann, who is quitting as the Labour MP for Bassetlaw to sit as an independent in the House of Lords, revealed there would be "an appropriate budget" from government for his role, which will last for five years.

He admitted: "It doesn't stop future governments from sacking me - but nobody will be able to simply forget me or my role."

The outspoken opponent of antisemitism added: "I am independent of government - former Prime Minister Theresa May put me in her Resignation Honours - and frankly I will be doing this role whether people like it or not for the next five years."

Setting out what he sees as the key focus of his new position, Mr Mann spoke of the "dichotomy" of "how not to overstate the problem so people become irrationally fearful of their everyday existence while at the same time not understating the problem."

He said that we should be "thankful" the UK has not witnessed yet the "murder of people going about their everyday life simply because they were Jewish" as has been the case with atrocities in France, Belgium and the United States.

"Therefore my observation with regard to the balance of overstatement and understatement (in the UK) - the biggest danger is that we will understate the problem."

Mr Mann warned that in his opinion the rise of antisemitism on British university campuses was a huge issue.

He said there was a vital role to be played by Jewish communal bodies and student leaders in dealing with this problem.

While physical attacks on British Jews were still rare, Mr Mann spoke of the growth of "pernicious, silent, isolating disdain" shown towards Jewish students "from hostile elements in their universities."

In his new role, Mr Mann said he would work to ensure the IHRA definition of antisemitism "is used in its most effective way by our major institutions, football clubs, universities - this is achievable."

Singling out the vital role that will be played by the Community Security Trust, Mr Mann said he would be "working and meeting with Jewish community leaders at all times."

He also said there was a huge impact to be made through what he described as "use of the non-law, civil society and good organisation."

Mr Mann added: "If we do not, the reality will be that good people will leave.

"Not necessarily quickly - but good people will not see their future on the continent of Europe or on the UK because they are Jewish, and they wish for their identity to be proudly held at all times.

"We are not going to accept - and government is not going to accept - that impingement on civil liberties in this country."

Mr Mann said that his "motto" in his new role would be "consistency and consequences."

He explained: "There will be a consistency in my approach and that will be rigorously followed through to make sure it happens.

"And there will be consequences for the antisemites - whether they like it or not."

He said he would be acting on the advice of the Jewish community who would be required to "tell me what they think should happen."

Mr Mann said: "I will be advising on how they get that message through to government."

He added: "History shows us that the Jewish community has always been the canary in the cage for the rest of society.

"This battle benefits everyone in this country.

"I will be going around making sure everyone understands this, with every opportunity I get.

"This is a battle for our country, this is a battle of our country and of our people.

"If we define our values - the things that make us British, then this is the number one battle.

"That we stand up against discrimination. That we do not allow the Jewish community to be attacked in the way it has been.

"And that when it is, we make sure that the perpetrators face the most robust consequences." 

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