On Saturday 3 March, Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss) played host to two cross-party MPs. Mike Freer, conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green and Mike Gapes, Labour MP for Ilford South addressed over 150 congregants about their activities to combat antisemitism during a Kinloss ‘Shabbat Forum’ moderated by shul chairman Jon Mendelsohn.
After the conclusion of the service, part of which both MPs attended, Mike Gapes discussed his earliest efforts in Parliament to combat Holocaust denial and his continuing campaign to oppose hate on the internet. He spoke of his work with local schools to shut down an antisemitic facebook page that had targeted local members of the Jewish community. Gapes, himself not Jewish, has been the victim of recurrent hostile campaigns in the constituency. He was speaking the day after returning fromEgypt and Tunisia where, he said, he found some hope for a more peaceful future.
Mike Freer expressed his concerns that theMiddle East conflict was too often being used as a shield for antisemitic comment. Freer also gave practical advice to those seeking out avenues to explore interfaith opportunities in the local area.
Ending on a positive note, both MPs reaffirmed their commitment to fighting antisemitism and highlighted the positive results accomplished by the All-Party Group.