In response to comments by Baroness Ashton comparing Toulouse and Gaza, Jon Benjamin, CEO Board of Deputies; Richard Benson, CEO CST; Jeremy Newmark, CEO JLC and John Mann MP, on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism said today: “Baroness Ashton’s remarks were both crass and wholly inappropriate. The loss of young, innocent lives anywhere is of course appalling, but the attempt to draw parallels between Toulouse and Gaza was deeply, offensive and unworthy of a person in her position.
Huffington Post Article:
he attack earlier this week on schoolchildren in Toulouse was horrific. But for the last five years the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-semitism has warned that such an attack was depressingly predictable.
Nobody could say where or when. Not which country or what particular brand of hatred the deranged perpetrator hid behind. Sadly, this attack could have happened anywhere in Europe or beyond. It may have been inspired by far-right, far-left or extreme Islamist ideologies and it brings home the key themes of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. We learned about the scale of Jew-hatred and the potential for outrages. This in turn highlighted the need for parliament to support the Jewish community in all aspects of its self-protection arrangements.
In these aspects, we in the UK are ahead of the rest of the world. The Community Security Trust is a reliable organisation which not only defends and protects its constituents but informs and reassures them – as we saw in the immediate aftermath of the Toulouse attacks.
Parliamentarians work with the CST and others to ensure Britain acts to support minority communities. We were diligent in helping to seek governmental funding for security for Jewish schools and to insist that the police to disaggregate anti-semitic incidents in their data and it our duty and mandate to continue to demonstrate robustness in tackling racism even when uncomfortable to do so.
Somewhere, sometime there will be another attempted attack. We don’t know where or when but that is the point. We do not have the luxury of time. Politicians must take a lead, not just in response to outrages, but also when things appear calm and deal with underlying problems. Our group has had some success in securing action from other parliaments. The Germans, Italians and the Canadians have both held their own inquiries and started to action them. I call on other European parliaments to hold their own inquiries, addressing the issues head on and work alongside the Jewish community.
At times like this we must stand together. But tomorrow when newspapers carry other news, we the elected political leaders must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community, accepting no excuses for racism and to leave no hiding place for those whose minds are contorted by hatred and evil.