I received an email asking me to endorse a Pledge for Israel:
If elected to the United Kingdom Parliament I Pledge…
- To oppose the extremists who challenge Israel ’s right to exist.
- To support the right of people in the United Kingdom to enjoy Israeli culture and promote business, educational, religious and other connections with the Jewish State without fear of discrimination, boycotts, harassment and/or intimidation.
- To support those who genuinely seek to promote and establish a permanent, just and comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours.
- To celebrate the fact that Israel is a free society and parliamentary democracy that extends to all its citizens the right to practice their religion and have access to religious sites in Jerusalem.
- To support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
- To encourage HM Government to promote trade with Israel that will increase investment and jobs for people in both countries.
My reply was as follows:
I didn’t know about this initiative. I’ll look at it more closely.
I have had time to read through the pledges, though, and it’s disappointing that more candidates haven’t supported them. I hadn’t heard of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and so I’d need to look at that before I could comment on it specifically, but all the other points are very clearly things that I would strongly support. I think it would be very poor for any candidate not to support them.
I’ll be busy for the next couple of hours but will respond further, later.
I have since had a look at the IHRA working definition of antisemitism I find that it goes like this:
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
I don’t think it’s very well written (I would say something like “hating people because they are Jews, or treating them badly because they are Jews”, but who am I to decide?) It reads like it was written by a committee, which I suppose it was. But I think the sentiment is clear and I’m very happy to support it, as well as to endorse all the other parts of the Pledge on Israel. I think it would be very poor for any prospective MP not to endorse the pledge.