Home Secretary Amber Rudd has praised the “immense” contribution of Britain’s Jewish community at the Board of Deputies’ Parliamentary Chanukah reception.
The event, hosted by Robert Halfon, MP, was attended by more than 100 parliamentarians and others including Ms Rudd, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, ITV’s Robert Peston and Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
Ms Rudd said: “The contribution of the Jewish community of this country has been immense and I want to ensure that the Government always recognises that so that we can all benefit from it.
“The Jewish community is a model of integration but despite that there are terrible people who wish to do terrible things.”
She added: “Today the Prime Minister made her announcement to formally accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This will make it more straightforward to get prosecutions so that we can call out and take action against those who undertake antisemitic attacks.
Emily Thornberry said: “The events of the last year have had enormous ramifications for our communities and there has been a rise in racism and particularly antisemitsm. We need to have faith in one another and respect for one another.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis congratulated Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush for the “outstanding manner in which you are leading and representing our community.”
He said: “Let us dedicate ourselves to ensure that the spirit of Chanukah stays with us for the entire year. Never underestimate the power we have to ensure that light prevails over darkness.”
Robert Peston, ITV political editor, described his own experiences of antisemitism.
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush spoke of his pride to be “in the mother of parliaments with more than 100 parliamentarians celebrating Chanukah with us.”
He added: “One of the most important things we have is our relationships with our parliamentary friends and colleagues. Thank you for the advocacy and support you give us year in and year out. Our community appreciates it very much.”
Following the speeches, guests were entertained with songs sung by the choir of Alma Primary School, Whetstone.
Photo: John Rifkin