Charles Walker raises his concerns at the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK

Speaking in the House of Commons

Speaking in a debate on security and the middle east, Charles Walker deplores the cover of Israeli action in Gaza as an excuse for a rise in hatred and anti-Semitism in the UK.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling me to speak in this debate on the middle east and security matters. I am sorry that I have been nipping in and out of the Chamber.

It is important to get my concerns on the record, and I will be brief. I am greatly concerned about the impact that events in the middle east are having on our country, and about how these events are being perverted to give licence to hate. As a tolerant society, we cannot tolerate British people hating British people on the basis of the faith they are born into or choose to follow. I am deeply disturbed by the personal letters I have received from a number of my Jewish constituents—I have only 250 of them—expressing their distress at what the future holds in the UK for them and their families.

These are British citizens who have as much to do with the middle east as I do. It is not right that synagogues now have to be protected by security guards and that banners are being seen and chants are being heard that say, “Kill all Jews”, “Hitler was right” and “Death to all Jews”. This situation is not tolerable. There are no excuses.

Mr Burrowes: I totally agree with my hon. Friend, and he is certainly right to raise issues about our Jewish constituents in this debate about security. The issue goes further than the physical threats. For the first time in my surgery, I encountered a family that is now fearful of its children going on a public bus to a Jewish school, or even of them going alone into the local Asda or Tesco. The family thinks how they look will give an indication of their being Jewish and that people will take an anti-Semitic view.

Mr Walker: I am aware of those concerns; they are shared by members of the Jewish faith in my constituency.

The cancer of anti-Semitism is stalking our country under the disguise of a new cloak. This cloak must be stripped away, exposing the wickedness of those who lurk behind it. I am no saint in these matters. We all have the weakness to give in to the easy seduction of hate, so it is incumbent on us all to recognise the siren calls of that weakness and keep them in check.

In coming here today, I do not want to stand behind my Jewish constituents; I do not want to stand beside them; I want to stand in front of them. I say this: if I had Christian constituents, Hindu constituents or Muslim constituents who felt threatened as a result of their faith or colour, I would stand in front of them as well.

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