Issues

Antisemitism is a danger to society, and we in Southport must be vigilant

I will work closely with partners in the Jewish community to ensure that all Jewish residents in Southport can live, work, and worship in the tolerant and open community we all know Southport to be.

Do you know how many British Jews feel the need to hide their religion?

According to YouGov and the Campaign Against Antisemitism , it is nearly half. This is a shocking statistic, but perhaps understandable when you discover that 36% of British adults believe at least one antisemitic stereotype. Around 12% believe three.

Recently, MPs from across the House discussed these figures, as well as other worrying ones. In 2017, over a thousand antisemitic incidents were recorded – a 3% rise on the year before. A couple of weeks ago, in a moving piece about the prejudice his community faces, the novelist Howard Jacobson wrote: ‘We live in a rage-filled, hate-stalked world. And where the hate precedes the cause of hate and only later looks for reasons, the Jews will always do as a pretext.’

I’m proud of the work that so many in Southport do to fight antisemitism. For many years, King George V College invited a Holocaust survivor to speak to students. Every January, at Christ Church, we remember the terrible things perpetrated against him and millions of other Jews by the Nazis and honour their memories. Despite this work, we need to be vigilant.

‘Jews have often functioned as a canary in the coalmine’, one commentator warned recently. ‘[W]hen a society turns on its Jews, it is usually a sign of wider ill health.’

Recently, I met with the Jewish Leadership Council in Southport to discuss Jewish care in our community. In the months ahead, I will be working closely with partners to ensure all those who are Jewish and live in Southport can do so confidently.