Monday, 26 May 2008

English Parliament debates growth of anti-semitism in Britain, by Irene Lancaster

From Irene Lancaster's Diary:

"English Parliament debates growth of anti-semitism in Britain, and calls on the BBC and the Church of England to do more

(...) the parliamentary debate about the growth of antisemitism in Britain. It took place last week, on Thursday, May 15th.

If you go to the comments section on the Engage webpage, you will find out how to access the video of the debate.

Here is part of what two MPs from different parties said about the matter of antisemitism in today's Britain. I have reversed the order in which they appeared:

Andrew Dismore (Hendon, Labour)
"The threat and reality of anti-Semitism is with us ... Jewish people are the only community in our country who live in a permanent state of siege and underlying fear ... although I am not Jewish, I am targeted because I am seen as someone who stands up for the Jewish community. I have had hate mail and death threats. I have been on the receiving end of action by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee..."

Mark Prichard (The Wrekin, Conservative)
" ... in some, but not all, parts, the BBC is still institutionally biased against Israel.... I welcome the comments that Pope Benedict made in his Cologne speech. I think the Church of England should do more; it should speak out against anti-Semitism."

This was an important debate, which took place on the date by Gregorian calendar of Israel's 60th anniversary. The debate linked antisemitism in Britain to the way Israel is reported in the media, specifically mentioning bias in the BBC as a Government-funded organisation, and calling on the Church of England to do more to speak out.

The most obivous cause for concern still remains the atmosphere and reality of campus life for Jewish students and staff in many universities. However, the BBC and the Church of England - pillars of the establishment - could do a great deal more to influence the pervading ambience in the country. This might go some way to assuage the feeling 'of permanent state of siege and underlying fear' experienced by the Jewish community of this country, correctly expressed by the non-Jewish Labour MP for Hendon, NW London.

Another worrying feature is the universities' admission policy, which many feel discriminates against the Jewish community as an ethnic minority.

Contrast with President Bush's speech of congratulations to Israel on her 60th, which he gave in the Israeli Knesset (originally modelled on the British parliament), which took place on the same afternoon as the parliamentary debate on anti-Semitism in London."

No comments: