A mourner kneels outside the Pittsburgh Synagogue where 11 innocent lives were ruthlessly taken in a act of gross religious intolerance
I have today written to the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council to express our regrets at the massacre of Jewish Americans on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
It seems to me that there is an increasing rhetoric from the far right and far left that seeks to blame minorities of all types for the economic and social woes that the World is facing. “It’s not our fault it’s Jewish Financiers or it’s health service seeking refugees”, goes the rhetoric. Because saying extremist things is easier to some people than dealing with the hard realities that this World of ours has plenty of resources but those resources are not shared more fairly.
In Liverpool we have had a significant population from the Jewish Faith for more than 200 years. They have played a major part in the growth of our City and in our business and political life. That is why it is so sad to see Jewish Labour MPs such as Luciana Berger increasingly being of the receiving end of filth, innuendo and abuse.
My support for the Liverpool Jewish community should not be interpreted as support for all the actions of the State of Israel. All responsible politicians should divorce their feelings about Jewish adherents in our Country and some of the irresponsible actions of the Jewish state.
I have also tabled the following motion to the November 14 Council and suggested that it should become an all-Party motion;
This is my full letter to the Jewish Representative Council
Merseyside Jewish Representative Council,
29th October 2018
Re: The growth in anti-Semitism
I am writing to you both as a City Councillor and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool to express our regrets to you for the terrible events that took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday. No words can sufficiently express the condemnation that needs to be made for the way in which the Jewish community has been treated.
This is not happening in isolation. Attacks oral, in writing and physical are increasingly being made on your community in the UK as well. Over the past few years there has been a growth in intolerance not only to Jews but other minorities that I had fondly believed were being educated out of the population as a whole
It appears to us that much of this has been caused by political leaders across the World persecuting minorities as they cannot find solutions for the grave problems that we all face. Once again, the caricatures of Jewish people as ruthless financiers backing wars and pestilence to their own ends has become part of political rhetoric from the extreme left such as Jeremy Corbyn and the extreme right such as Donald Trump. Crucially, those of us who are not defined in such terms politically are not doing enough to stand together with those of the Jewish faith to counter such revolting arguments.
To this end what more can be done? Are there things we could and should be saying in the Council or the community or schools about these allegations and accusations? I know that much is being done, for example, with the annual Holocaust commemorations and with some educational programmes but what do you think could be done?
We would be delighted to explore these issues with you if you think that they are worth exploring. Some of our Councillors could come and meet with parts of your community to discuss these contemporary issues and explore a joint way forward if you think that it would be helpful.
Once again could I record our disgust at what is happening and our determination to stand with you and to jointly face down in calmness and with reason those who seek to divide us.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats