As the row about Labour and anti-Semitism continues to intensify, I thought it timely to get some opinions from one of our loyal Jewish UKIP members, as only they can tell us how it really feels to be on the receiving end of anti-Semitism. I also thought it would be important to ask them their opinion on UKIP’s point of view on the IHRA definition.
Janice (J): Why did you join UKIP?
Friend (F): I believe in the restoration of British Sovereignty and joined UKIP to fight for the Referendum and to leave the EU.
(J): When did you join UKIP?
(F): 2013 and have been not only an active branch member but also a Parliamentary candidate.
(J): Do you feel anti-Semitism is rising in the UK?
(F): Yes. Anti Jewish and anti Israel attacks are commonplace on the internet, trolling and unpleasantness on message boards is constant. Jewish students feel unsafe at Universities, Jewish graves are vandalised, Jewish shops attacked and Jewish schools and places of worship need huge security and are on a high state of alert.
(J): If Jeremy Corbyn became PM what would you do?
(F): I love the UK and do not want to leave but I am frightened. Jewish people are a tiny minority and we are only safe when the government protects us. Labour under a Corbyn government clearly would not do so; that is a terrifying thought. Jewish life in the UK would become as dangerous as in France and could become impossible.
(J): How do you feel about UKIP reportedly rejecting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition?
(F): Disappointed and very worried. Labour rejected it and the Jewish community staged the only ever protest it has held against a mainstream party – that is how strongly we feel about it. Our former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has explained that by rejecting this definition, Labour is promoting a new anti-Semitic trope; this links Jews, money and Zionism. Zionist or Zio is now a term of abuse and a codeword for Jews – even though some of the greatest Zionists were Christians such as George Eliot, Balfour, Lloyd George and Churchill. We have to have this proper definition and UKIP must accept it.
(J): What about the official party line that we unofficially agree? And that our constitution is enough and that we cannot have Free Speech compromised by signing outside petitions and statements?
(F): The definition has to be accepted as it stands by every party with no exceptions. The definition does not prevent free speech or proper criticism of Israel. It stops demonisation of the Jewish people. UKIP is not entitled to hold itself as separate to other countries, parties, councils, institutions and all decent non racist opinion. The Government and every other party and major institution in the UK has accepted it. It is appalling, racist and anti-Semitic for UKIP to fail to do so.
(J): Will you leave UKIP if we don’t endorse it?
(F): Yes, of course.
(J): Is there anything else you would like to say?
(F): It is a huge disappointment to me that UKIP should even think of acting in this way.
The interview ended there.
It saddens me that in this era we are now dealing with extreme anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. Many Jews have found a safe and happy home in our country and have proved to be good and faithful citizens. It is even more sad that they now feel under threat in the UK as well and many are considering leaving due to the actions of the Labour leader and the anti-Semitism of many in the Labour Party.
Whatever your stance on how UKIP should respond – whether we should officially endorse the IHRA definition or continue as we are, relying on our constitution – we cannot deny that the threat to our Jewish citizens is real, as is their fear for the future.
Many times in the past our country has had to choose a side. And while I have no doubt that UKIP is the best party to defend the freedom of all our British citizens, regardless of race or religion, is it now time for us to officially accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism? Not to prove we are not anti-Semitic, there is no doubt in my mind on that. But to send a clear message to those that are – that we will not tolerate an attack on any of our citizens.
Either way, this problem is not going away any time soon – and I believe UKIP is the only party that can solve it. Let’s take it by the horns and do so..