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Paul Goodman MP speaks for the Conservatives in Anti-Semitism debate

Highlights of Paul Goodman's contribution:

Anti-Semitism has a particular horror for Europeans: "All forms of hatred against people on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality or condition—indeed, all forms of hatred against people—are an unqualified and unmitigated evil. However, there is a special horror for those of us who are Europeans, in the widest sense of the word, in and about anti-Semitism. The reason for that is almost too obvious to state: the holocaust."

Violence against synagogues: "Many places of worship in Britain today have been subject to violence, including churches, mosques and gurdwaras. There have been atrocious incidents, but only one religious institution in Britain is under threat to such a degree that those who attend it are advised not to linger outside after worship: the synagogue."

Anti-Semitism is no longer just practicised by neo Nazis: "When I was growing up, anti-Semitism was largely confined, in the context of extremist ideology, to neo-Nazi groups, but that has changed. It is now also championed by some who claim—mistakenly, as my Muslim constituents would point out—to speak in the name of Islam."

There is a particular problem in universities: "As for universities, as the right hon. Member for Warley (Mr. Spellar) said, the menace of anti-Semitism is particularly acute in higher education. That menace does not express itself only in the visible activity of anti-Semitic groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. Jewish students also report anti-Semitism on campus as a mood, an atmosphere and a mode of discourse. The right hon. Gentleman described it as a chill in the atmosphere. That leaks out especially, perhaps, from debates on the middle east, and can prevent Jewish students from enjoying a normal university experience. It can even deter young Jewish people from attending certain institutions altogether."

Extremist Muslim groups must be shunned in the same way that we shun the BNP: "We believe that it is wrong for institutions to participate in events that are hosted by anti-Semitic parties such as the British National party. It therefore follows that it is also wrong for them to participate in events hosted by other anti-Semitic organisations, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. I make that point because it was reported this week that John Holmwood, a sociology professor at Birmingham university, which is an excellent institution, spoke at a local debate that was organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir. It should also be unacceptable for local authorities to support groups that are willing to engage actively with Hizb ut-Tahrir, such as the Cordoba Foundation; we understand that that is the case in Tower Hamlets. The Cordoba Foundation appears to be involved in Campusalam—a Government-sponsored programme to tackle extremism on campus—so we would welcome clarification from the Minister on that."

More in Hansard.


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