The Leader of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP condemned the resurgence of anti-Semitism in British society as “simply unacceptable” in the House of Commons today, and warned that the Labour Party today “is clearly riddled with anti-Semitism”.
CFI Officers, Bob Blackman MP and Matthew Offord MP, expressed their concerns in questions to Mr Grayling about the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and the National Union of Students.
Referring to widespread accusations of anti-Semitism in Oxford University Labour Club, and recent developments in the NUS, MP for Hendon, Dr Matthew Offord, said: “Just weeks after the co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour club stepped down, saying that a large proportion of both the OULC and the student left in Oxford “have some kind of problem with Jews”, I am sure my right hon. Friend will be incredulous to hear that students who attended the National Union of Students conference in Brighton yesterday debated boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day and then went on to elect as its President someone who described the University of Birmingham as “something of a Zionist outpost” in British higher education”.
He asked: “May we have a Minister come to the Dispatch Box to set out measures that the Government will take to counter the rise in anti-Semitism that is being fomented on university campuses?”
Mr Grayling responded: “That is simply unacceptable in our society. The views expressed yesterday are not acceptable. The shadow Leader of the House was absolutely right when he talked about anti-Semitism in his own party. All of us from all political parties should work to stamp it out across our society, as it is simply unacceptable”.
MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, said: “It is ironic that the Holocaust Educational Trust was holding a reception and information session in this place at the same time as the National Union of Students was debating a motion to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day, and that speakers in favour of that were applauded for saying that Holocaust Memorial Day was not inclusive enough”.
Calling for a debate, he asked the Minister: “Clearly, there is a great deal of work to be done on education to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism, so may we have a debate in Government time on what action we are going to take to root that out once and for all among all political parties and among all sections of society?”
The Leader of of House responded: “My hon. Friend is right. We are seeing that happen time and again—statements about the Jewish population in this country, statements about Israel, that are unacceptable in a democratic society. Of course, there are legitimate debates to be had about the future of Israel and Palestine and the peace process, but some of the anti-Semitic views that are appearing in our society are simple unacceptable. Labour Members mention Islamophobia. I have stood at the Dispatch Box time and again and condemned Islamophobia in this country, but that is not a reason for not paying attention to the issue of anti-Semitism, which is becoming more and more of a problem and must be addressed head-on now by all those in public life, including the Labour party”.