The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,000 traditional Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, hosted a roundtable discussion this week on new paradigms to fight anti-Semitism, as a civil society event alongside the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief: London 2022. This important session, held in Portcullis House in Parliament, brought together members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons with rabbis, academics, leaders of Jewish organizations, and both Jewish and non-Jewish allied groups that have solid track records of taking interest in matters of concern to the religious Jewish community in the United Kingdom. This came on the heels of participation by CJV in the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, DC, last week.
“We brought together a truly diverse group,” said CJV International Liaison Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag, “and discussed groundbreaking strategies to combat anti-Semitism that can have a real and significant impact on British and European policies in the months ahead. I was delighted that our first CJV International event was such a rousing success.”
The event was held under the auspices of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Chaired by MP Jim Shannon. The featured speakers were Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV, Ivan Lewis, former Member of Parliament who left the Labour Party due to its failure to address anti-Semitism under its former leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Shimon Cohen, head of “Shechita UK,” which advocates for religious Jews to have access to kosher meat. Others contributing to the conversation included Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Bishop Dr. David Walker of Manchester, in his capacity as a member of the House of Lords, and Dr. Daniel Allington, a computational social scientist at King’s College London, who has led efforts to study and combat anti-Semitism online.
“The most hopeful sign, for me, was that these participants, representing many different perspectives, were quite willing to identify the ancient bigotry behind the anti-Israel movement,” said Rabbi Menken, “and to join together in pushing back against false narratives on campus and beyond. At least one participant said that he thought some of what they learned had immediate, real-world policy applications that they could pursue.”
As CJV International Liaison, Rabbi Guttentag is already preparing follow-up events to enhance the voice of rabbis in the UK and International public policy.