Thousands of people, mainly from the Jewish community, turned out in central Manchester on Sunday to let their voices be heard that they oppose the anti-Semitism that has gripped the Labour party. The crowd endured torrential rain in Cathedral Gardens where they heard speeches from leading politicians and Jewish leaders.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said that what is happening in the Labour party “is a farce” and called on Britain and the Labour Party to do “Teshuva”, an act of repentance.
“Today we call upon the Labour party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn to do Teshuva. The Rambam Maimonides identifies four key stages in the process of Teshuva. The first is to recognise where we’ve gone wrong. The second is to apologise. The third is to undertake never to do it again. And the fourth is to deliver. To actually change things for the better.”
“Yes, we’ve heard from Labour party leadership circles some sentiments about recognition of where they’ve gone wrong on anti-Semitism and yes we have heard some muttering of remorse and yes we have heard a lot about talk about what they’re going to do. But the Rambam tells us that if you engage in all the first three but number four is absent, it’s a total waste of time. It is a farce. And that is exactly what’s been happening in the Labour party. There is no delivery. No action.”
The Chief Rabbi did, however, give credit to Corbyn for one thing, saying, “Jeremy Corbyn has done something which many people have failed to do. He has united the Jewish community. We stand as one with one clear voice… and we declare, no to anti-Semitism and yes to a Britain of tolerance and respect.”
Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who has received a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse online and was threatened with disciplinary action by Labour, received a rapturous reception as she called for an “end to the vile racism against Jews”.
She said: “I never, ever dreamt that my identity as a Jew and my work as a public servant in the Labour Party would lead me to a rally protesting against anti-Semitism in my party, in our politics and in our communities.”
“But it has and here we are expressing our complete determination to work together to stamp out the vile racism against Jews that has infected our society. We’re standing together, we’re shouting to everybody, were making everybody hear that we mean what we say when we say enough is enough.”
Labour MP Louise Ellman also spoke, saying she was “absolutely appalled” that “MPs who speak out are threatened with deselection or abuse”. She also warned those leaders who are dismissing the concerns of the Jewish community, “You are playing with fire. You would not dare treat any other minority of this country in this way.”
“Enough is enough,” said Raphi Bloom of North West Friends of Israel in opening the event in the Manchester city centre, the Manchester Evening News reported. “We will not be scared, cowed or intimidated by these racists and we demand immediate action against the perpetrators of this anti-Semitism.”
The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Van der Zyl, accused Corbyn of “complicity” in the party’s anti-Semitism problem.
“Labour should be concentrating on the great issues to affect our country… yet they chose to spend the summer picking a fight with the Jews,” she said, referring to the party’s efforts to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism in order to fight it.
A report by Russia Today (RT):