Record number of London councillors at Jewish local government event
More than 120 council representatives from every London borough hear about issues such as housing and social action
Councillors from every London borough attended a seminar organised by Jewish groups on Sunday, where they heard “powerful testimony” from Holocaust survivor Dr Martin Stern.
Organisers at the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and London Jewish Forum (LJF) said more than 120 councillors made it “the biggest attendance for any such event”.
Among the issues discussed were antisemitism, Israel, education, social care, the housing needs of the Charedi community, and social action, with speakers including Board vice-president Edwin Shuker and the JLC’s Claudia Mendoza.
Online, councillors hailed efforts by South London Liberal Synagogue for converting an area of the shul to house a Syrian refugee family fleeing civil war.
Among other speakers were Lee Scott, special adviser to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and former MP for Ilford North.
Board president Marie van der Zyl, whose comments on “genocide” caused some concern, later said she was “delighted” with councillors’ response, adding: “These events are critical to winning the arguments on issues like antisemitism.”
Holocaust survivor Dr Martin Stern addresses London councillors. His testimony was described as “harrowing and deeply moving.”
LJF chair Adrian Cohen said: “We are a diverse community and we were pleased to be able to provide insight and understanding to councillors on social care, housing, security and social cohesion and the value we place on social action and education.”
He explained to those assembled that 20 out of 32 London boroughs had already adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which the Labour Party belatedly accepted in September.