In advance of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland elections on 5 May, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has linked up with affiliate bodies in the devolved nations to produce the first ever ‘Jewish manifestos’ for candidates in these elections. The project builds on the successful manifestos produced for the 2015 General Election and the 2014 EU elections.
To view the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish manifestos, click here
This landmark initiative was the result of partnerships between the Board of Deputies, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the South Wales Jewish Representative Council and the Belfast Jewish Community.
In each context, we have identified a number of ‘asks’ for politicians to consider, relating to matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and have distilled these into ‘Ten Commitments’ that we ask politicians to make. Whilst relaying similar themes, each set of ‘Ten Commitments’ and each manifesto is tailored to its particular context.
In Wales, for example, the manifesto produced by the Board and the South Wales Jewish Representative Council has been translated into Welsh. It is believed that the Welsh Jewish Manifesto – or ‘Maniffesto Iddewig ar gyfer Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru’ – is the first ever Jewish policy document produced in Welsh.
The manifestos will be sent to candidates from all the main parties contesting the elections, who will be invited to express their support. The advocacy campaign will be supported by the hashtag #TenCommitments on social media, as well as hustings events and direct political engagement.
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) and Glasgow Jewish Representative Council presented copies of the Scottish Manifesto to Scottish party leaders Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie at the very first moment of the election campaign, immediately after the very last moment of the outgoing Scottish Parliament, when the leaders and their MSPs formally left the Scottish Parliament Chamber to the sound of bagpipes.
Left to right: Hilary Rifkind (Scojec President), Nicola Sturgeon MSP (SNP leader), Ephraim Borowski (Scojec Director), Ruth Davidson MSP (Scottish Conservative Leader), Paul Morron (President of Glasgow Jewish Represntative Council) , Kezia Dugdale MSP (Scottish Labour Leader), Willie Rennie MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader)
Meanwhile, the Board of Deputies and the Belfast Jewish Community presented the manifesto to the Northern Irish First Minister Arlene Foster (DUP), Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) and leaders of the SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance Party, in a delegation to Stormont.
Candidates will have the opportunity to debate publicly the manifestos at hustings in Scotland and Wales. The Scottish hustings, organised by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, will take place in the Eastwood constituency on Thursday 14 April, while the Cardiff hustings organised by the Board of Deputies and the South Wales Jewish Representative Council will take place on Sunday 17 April. People interested in either event should contact email@example.com who will forward your request to the relevant administering body.
Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron said: “We are delighted to have produced the first ever Jewish manifestos for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly, working with our Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish affiliate bodies. This builds on the success of the manifestos for the 2015 General Election and the 2014 EU elections.
“We hope that our communities will use the documents in their efforts to inform candidates about the community’s priorities and enable the next crop of national elected representatives to champion Jewish interests and concerns with increased understanding and effectiveness.
Commenting on the Scottish manifesto, Paul Morron, President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, commented:
“This is an important piece of political engagement for the Jewish Community. It is good to see three of the principal Jewish representative bodies working in collaboration together for the good of the Community.”
Commenting on the Scottish manifesto, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) Director Ephraim Borowski said:
“Successive First Ministers have made much of the fact that Scotland is the only country in Europe from which Jews have never been expelled, but sadly that does not mean Jews have always felt comfortable here, and our recent studies of the experience of “Being Jewish in Scotland” have unfortunately shown increasing levels of anxiety and alienation. However, the issues that matter to the Jewish Community are far wider than hate crime and its effects, encompassing the full range of devolved policy areas – education, health, welfare, local government, community and interfaith relations, and the effect on Jewish people of extremist anti-Israel activity. We trust that political leaders of all parties will welcome this overview of communal concerns, and commit themselves to making Scotland a place where the Jewish Community, and all other minorities, can feel safe and secure.”
Commenting on the Welsh manifesto, Stanley Soffa, Chair of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council, said: “The issue of a Jewish Manifesto for the Welsh Assembly elections in May is a welcome milestone in the story of the Jews of Wales. Without the assistance of the Board of Deputies of British Jews we would not have been able to do so.
“The hustings to be held at Cardiff United Synagogue on 17 April, at which representatives from the six main political parties in Wales will attend, is also a first, and the South Wales Jewish Representative Council is once again most grateful to the Board for its fantastic support.”
Commenting on the Northern Ireland manifesto, Belfast Jewish Community Chair Michael Black said: “The manifesto creates a platform for engagement and the leaders’ responses to our manifesto during our recent visit give us hope that we can make Northern Ireland an even better place to be Jewish. I would like to thank the Board of Deputies for all its help in preparing the manifesto.”