A Jewish communal delegation convened by Jewish Leadership Council Chairman Sir Mick Davis met yesterday with Tim Farron MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
In a very productive and friendly discussion, community leaders shared with Mr Farron their thoughts on a wide range of issues impacting upon the British Jewish community, as well as ways in which the Jewish community can work with the Liberal Democrats’ eight MPs, over 100 Peers and 1,800 local councillors.
Domestic and foreign policy issues were at the heart of the meeting’s agenda. Key issues included community security, anti-semitism, and de-legitimisation of Israel in the UK, the social care sector, education and Jewish schools, and matters of religious practice, such as shechita and brit milah. On the foreign policy front, Israel, the Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process were discussed at length.
Mr Farron accepted an invitation to visit the Jewish community in North West London to tour communal institutions and meet with representatives of various organisations.
Following the meeting JLC Chairman, Sir Mick Davis, said:
We welcome the opportunity to meet with Mr Farron and look forward to the opportunity of engaging with him and the Liberal Democrats on the issues that matter most to the Jewish Community.
Mr Farron was very warm and understanding of our views. He reaffirmed the importance of religious practice and education and shares our concerns about the future of the social care sector. We discussed the situation in Israel and the wave of attacks against Israeli civilians, the peace process, and our concerns about efforts to delegitimise Israel in the UK and issues around our community’s security.
Mr Farron unequivocally denounced anti-semitism. He reaffirmed both countries right to live in peace and security and recommitted the Liberal Democrats to supporting a two-state solution negotiated by the parties in good faith. He acknowledged and shared our very serious concerns about efforts to boycott and delegitimise Israel, whether in the UK or elsewhere. We are delighted that he hopes to travel to the region and offered any assistance in making his trip a success.
I hope this is the first of many meetings with Mr Farron and that we can continue to develop this relationship over the course of this parliament.
Speaking of the meeting, Tim Farron, MP said:
I welcome the opportunity to meet with the Jewish communal leadership. I believe liberals and the Jewish community instinctively share many values in common, a commitment to education and appreciation of self-improvement and support for family and the wider community. I hope we will continue to meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern, share ideas and challenge one another in a constructive spirit.
Alongside the Jewish community delegation, the meeting was attended by Lord Palmer of Childs Hill, who is both a Vice President, Jewish Leadership Council and one of 108 Liberal Democrat Peers.
The members of the Jewish community delegation were:
• Sir Mick Davis, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council
• Sir Trevor Chinn CVO, Vice President, Jewish Leadership Council
• Debbie Fox, Vice Chair, Jewish Care
• Gillian Merron, Chief Executive, Board of Deputies
• Rabbi David Meyer, Executive Director, Partnerships for Jewish Schools
• Dr Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications, Community Security Trust