Jewish leaders in Manchester are coming together to protest against antisemitism
Leading Jewish figures are to come together in Manchester for a massive protest against antisemitism.
Thousands of people are expected to attend what organisers say will be a ‘significant show of feeling’ over a ‘frightening’ rise in abuse aimed at the Jewish community.
It comes as the number of antisemitic incidents in the UK is at its highest since records began in the 1980s.
There doesn’t appear to be one clear reason for the spike, but the rise of both the far right and hard left, social media and the ongoing antisemitism row within the Labour party are all thought to have contributed.
And Raphi Bloom, from the North West Friends of Israel, one of 32 Jewish organisations backing the September 16 protest, said the toxic combination had led to a culture where ‘people have become emboldened to air age-old antisemitic tropes with no fear of repercussions’.
He said: “Antisemitism is on the rise – the Jewish community has been feeling under pressure for a number of months.
“It was felt that Manchester, as the second largest Jewish community in the UK, wanted to make their voices heard. To say that they are feeling the pressure of antisemitism.
“We are proud British Jews. We want to live in this country and contribute to this country as we have done for centuries, but enough is enough.
“The abuse we have been suffering online and in person is terrible.
“You only have to read the type of abuse someone like (Labour MP) Margaret Hodge receives to see that.
“It is now acceptable to abuse Jews for a having a number of different views. There is no civility any more. Ninety per cent of British Jews in this country are Zionists – they believe in the state of Israel – but for that we get called Nazis and child killers and our loyalties are questioned. It is a horrible time.
“We feel very much that this abuse is coming from the left and the right, but what we have seen is that since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party people have become emboldened to air age-old antisemitic tropes with no fear of repercussions.
“We are not making this up, we are not being hysterical – this is the topic of conversation around Friday night Sabbath diner tables across the country.
“We feel we are being told as a community that we cannot define what antisemitism is.
“It’s impossible to imagine that happening to any other minority. You wouldn’t tell a black person what racism is, or a gay person what homophobia is, but that’s what is happening to the Jewish community.”
Speakers at the rally, which takes place from noon to 2pm at Cathedral Gardens, on Sunday, September 16, include the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, several local MPs, including Withington’s Jeff Smith, Bury South’s Ivan Lewis and Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell and Manchester council leader Richard Leese.