'I love Israel, but hate the Israeli government' says Green parliamentary hopeful

Green MEP and parliamentary candidate Alex Phillips tells the JC antisemitism 'cannot be tolerated and it should not be tolerated'



Alex Phillips is a Green MEP currently vying for the Brighton Kemptown constituency, next door to the only Green parliamentary seat held by Caroline Lucas.

She is also one of few Green candidates with Jewish heritage — both her grandfathers were Jewish and, despite not being halachically Jewish, she attended King David High School in Liverpool.

“I went to a Jewish school so I feel culturally very Jewish… I think it’s been really helpful going to a Jewish school, which my parents thought was really important for me to kind of understand my Jewish ancestry,” she said.

Ms Phillips says that understanding has had a positive response from constituents whilst out canvassing and claims many Brighton voters “want to see someone that understands them and is representative of them in Parliament.”

Ms Phillips added she was “lucky” to have the education she did as she “got taught about all religions equally in a really open way but I also got to experience first-hand the cultural side of the Jewish religion,” something which she says “a lot of other people could benefit from” in order to tackle antisemitism in society.

A woman whose door she knocked on last week brought up the topic of antisemitism. Ms Phillips said: “She spoke about how rife it was and she said, ‘you’re lucky because you don’t look Jewish’ and that she looks Jewish and that she gets treated differently.”

Ms Phillips also said that people don’t know that she is Jewish because she has “held back with showcasing” her mother’s surname, Rosenfield, since she first stood for election “because it is so obviously Jewish.” 

“It’s a real systemic problem within society and something needs to happen about it… it cannot be tolerated and it should not be tolerated,” she says, arguing that “this rise in hate crime I think has been linked to Brexit and the only way to stop it, I believe, is to remain [in the EU].”

Asked about her rival Brexit Party candidate in Brighton Kemptown – who was revealed to have been in a Nazi-themed metal band – she responded: “It shows you the types of people that want to stand for the Brexit Party and where many of them are coming from.”

Asked about Israel and Palestine, she said: “For me, I love Israel. I’ve been there many times and it’s a great country. I’m not particularly religious but I love Jerusalem…

“We need a country such as Israel for Jewish people for their homeland, and I can also say that I hate the Israeli government and what they’re doing in Palestine.

“Personally, that is a very clear line to take… In my head it’s quite clear but I don’t understand why in other peoples’ heads it’s not clear. I don’t really understand why they can’t distinguish between those two things”

She adds that she thinks it “really unhelpful to describe Israel as an apartheid state”.

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