2,500 demonstrate in Manchester against rising anti-Semitism in the U.K. and Labour Party

(JTA) – More than 2,500 people demonstrated in Manchester, England against increasing anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom and the problem of anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party.

Some 32 different Jewish groups ranging from Orthodox to Progressive Reform came together to sponsor Sunday’s rally during a rainstorm in Britain’s second-largest Jewish community.

“Enough is enough,” said Raphi Bloom of North West Friends of Israel in opening the event in the Manchester city center, the Manchester Evening News reported. “We will not be scared, cowed or intimidated by these racists and we demand immediate action against the perpetrators of this anti-Semitism.”

Among the speakers at the event were British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis; Marie van der Zyl,  president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Jewish Leadership Council Chair Jonathan Goldstein; and several area lawmakers.

Dame Margaret Hodge, an MP who has been the subject of on-line anti-Semitic attacks and recently called Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn “an anti-Semite and a racist,” called for an “end to the vile racism against Jews,” according to the newspaper.  “I never, ever dreamt that my identity as a Jew and my work as public servant in the Labour Party would lead me to a rally protesting against anti-Semitism in my party, in our politics and in our communities.”

“We’re standing together, we’re shouting to everybody, were making everybody hear that we mean what we say when we say enough is enough,” she also said.

Van der Zyl accused Corbyn of “complicity” in the party’s anti-Semitism problem.  “Labour should be concentrating on the great issues to affect our country… yet they chose to spend the summer picking a fight with the Jews,” she said, referring to the party’s efforts to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism in order to fight it.


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