Monday, 2 March 2020

Campaign response - Stop the Lie of Israel Apartheid Week (AE)

I am grateful to constituents for getting in touch with me regarding the concerning development of so called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ that some universities will be hosting.

I am of course very pleased to be informed that Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has announced that universities who fail to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism will be named and will face possible funding cuts.

You will know that I have consistently spoken up in support of Israel in Parliament and I continue to be a vocal critic of antisemitism and any acts of hostility to or prejudice against Jews around the world. 

The so-called "Israeli Apartheid Week" seeks to sow seeds of hatred, division, and encourage prejudice while supporting the Palestinian cause at the cost of Israel.

IAW, mostly held on college campuses and places of higher education around the world, is a series of lectures, exhibits and events singling out the State of Israel and her supporters for fierce criticism.

"Apartheid," a word only recently originating in the 1940's from Afrikaans, literally means "separateness" referencing South Africa's racist policies of politically and economically disenfranchising its black population.

This campaign seeks to cast Israel - a beacon of democratic progressiveness and the Middle East's only liberal democracy ensuring equality of rights and freedom of religion - as being equally guilty of similar practices and policies.

Many Jewish student leaders have expressed concerns that Jewish students on campus are being singled out, harassed, intimidated and even assaulted during IAW.

I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by constituents and the arguments they have made against acts of discrimination and antisemitism as defined by the IHRA perpetuated by IAW.

I will continue to support the Government’s position on this matter and will of course be happy to speak up against IAW in the House when presented with the opportunity to do so.