“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.”