Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

On the doorstep in Barnet with the rabbi hoping to win votes

Labour canvassers in West Finchley get a mixed reception from Jewish voters

    Rabbi Danny Rich

    “It wouldn’t  assist the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party if all Jews left,” says Danny Rich as he prepares to canvass a voter.

    Rabbi Rich may be senior rabbi and chief executive of Liberal Judaism but his political allegiances lie with the Labour Party.

    A member for almost 40 years, he is now standing for a council seat in the West Finchley ward in Barnet.

    The 57-year-old says: “I’m going to fight within to make sure antisemites aren’t tolerated in the party.”

    West Finchley has never returned a councillor for any party other than Labour but local supporters are not taking anything for granted. On Sun­day, a dozen or so activists were busy knocking on doors — many of which had mezuzahs — alongside the rabbi.

    One Jewish voter has good news for Rabbi Rich. “I’ve been a life long Labour voter and I want to see the back of the Conservatives in Barnet,” he says.

    Although he had read about Labour’s antisemitism problem, “that still won’t change my mind. I don’t personally encounter it”.

    In the next street, however, anoth­er Labour canvasser receives a much frostier reception.

    A Jewish Israeli says she too had been a life long Labour voter but has been unable to vote for the party since Mr Corbyn was elected.

    “There is a big problem. This is seri­ous,” she says. “There is this pure hate if you mention Israel or Zionism.”

    But she will not vote for the Con­servatives.

    Rabbi Rich says: “Occasionally I will come across a Jewish voter who says ‘I’m not having anything to do with Labour. This antisemitism is a problem’.

    “I’m not hiding the fact that in Bar­net, where we have a good percentage of Jewish voters, the controversy about antisemitism is not going to help our vote. There’s no question about that.”

    In Childs Hill ward the race could not be closer. The last election saw two Orthodox Jewish Conservatives, Peter Zinkin and Shimon Ryde, win seats but a third Tory lost out to an incumbent Liberal Democrat by just nine votes.

    Labour’s leading candidate was only another 40 votes behind.

    Mr Zinkin says: “From our point of view, the absolutely critical mes­sage to all voters is that in this ward your vote actu­ally mat­ters.”

Books

Review: The Fox Hunt

Daniel Sugarman

15:23

Review: The Fox Hunt
World

Jewish dentist goes viral with these magic tricks for young patients

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 15:01

Jewish dentist goes viral with these magic tricks for young patients
World

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 09:17

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'
UK News

Jews are victims of 41 per cent racist hate crimes in the Netherlands

Daniel Sugarman

Fri, 10:19

Jews are victims of 41 per cent racist hate crimes in the Netherlands
World

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 13:40

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza
UK News

Philip Roth dies aged 85

Daniel Sugarman

Wed, 09:08

Philip Roth dies aged 85
UK News

Further details announced for Prince's trip to Israel

Daniel Sugarman

Fri, 08:55

Further details announced for Prince's trip to Israel
UK News

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'

Rosa Doherty

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 10:20

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'
World

Melbourne sibling stabbing 'could be antisemitic incident'

Daniel Sugarman

Tue, 11:05

Melbourne sibling stabbing 'could be antisemitic incident'