In the run up to the General Election, we have scanned the party manifestos to see what they have to say on issues of Jewish interest. Below you will find excerpts, presented without commentary or editing, which relate to the key areas of religious freedom, antisemitism and extremism, Israel and faith education. We have included relevant passages for each party where applicable.
Conservative: “We will stand up for the freedom of people of all religions – and non-religious people – to practise their beliefs in peace and safety.”
“We want people to integrate fully into British society, but that does not mean they should have to give up the things they hold dear in their religion. So while we will always make sure the Food Standards Agency properly regulates the slaughter of livestock and poultry, we will protect methods of religious slaughter, such as shechita and halal.”
Labour: “We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
UKIP: “Insist on formal non-stun training and certification for all religious slaughtermen to ensure the highest standards are adhered to.”
“Recognise that British values include tolerance of religion. UKIP is committed to protecting religious freedoms for all believers in the UK, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe, however, that those faiths and beliefs must exist firmly within a British framework. We will not condone any faith position which is itself intolerant and refuses to recognise the human rights of others.”
Antisemitism and Extremism
Conservative: “We will tackle global terrorism and the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism while taking a patient, long-term approach to preventing conflict and state failure.”
Labour: “We will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We will challenge prejudice before it grows, whether in schools, universities or on social media. And we will strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime.”
“To defeat the threats of Islamist terrorism, we must also engage with the personal, cultural and wider factors that turn young people to extremism. The Prevent programme was set up under the last Labour Government to stop young people becoming radicalised. But this Government has cut the funding and narrowed its focus. Much of the work to engage Muslim communities has been lost.
We will overhaul the programme to involve communities in countering extremist propaganda, stopping young people being groomed, and also building resilient institutions for social integration. We applaud those faith communities who have pioneered an inter-faith dialogue for the common good.
Liberal Democrat: “To tackle religious discrimination and support faith and belief communities in
working together we will: Continue support for the Interfaith Network to promote strong and sustainable relations between different faith communities, support projects aimed at tackling intolerance such as Show Racism the Red Card and the Anne Frank Trust UK and work closely with faith and community organisations, such as the Community Security Trust (which works to protect the Jewish community against antisemitic attacks) and the Muslim Council of Britain, to prevent hate crime, including at places of worship like synagogues and mosques. We are determined to combat antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in the UK and internationally.”
“We will: Work with religious and community leaders, civil society groups and social media sites to counter the narratives put forward by extremists, and create the space for the expression of contrary viewpoints and religious interpretations. Maintain laws that provide an effective defence against terrorist activity, including proscription of terrorist groups, Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, and Temporary Exclusion Orders, which enable the security services to manage the return of those who have fought illegally in foreign conflicts. Ensure we continue to provide the appropriate resources to the police and intelligence agencies to meet the threat, including of cyber attack. Ensure efforts to tackle terrorism do not stigmatise or alienate Muslims or any other ethnic or faith group, and that government supports communities to help prevent those at risk of radicalisation from being drawn into illegal activity. Review the process of assessing threats against different ethnic and religious communities to ensure all groups in the UK are properly protected.”
UKIP: “UKIP acknowledges there are real, existential threats around the world. The rise of Islamic extremism is at the forefront of this and, indeed, is possibly the most important battle of our generation. But the fight with and against this ideology is not best fought on a battlefield 3,000 miles away, but at home, where we have significant problems of radicalisation and incitement to terrorism.”
SNP: “We do not support Tory plans for the reintroduction of the so-called ‘snoopers’ charter’, which would see all online activity of every person in the UK stored for a year. Instead, we need a proportionate response to extremism. That is why we will support targeted, and properly overseen, measures to identify suspected extremists and, if necessary, examine their online activity and communications.
Conservative: “Support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, robustly defending the right of Israel to protect its security, while continuing to condemn illegal settlement building, which undermines the prospects for peace.”
Labour: “Peace and security in the Middle East are one of Labour’s most important foreign policy objectives. We remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.”
Liberal Democrat: “Remain committed to a negotiated peace settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes a two-state solution. We condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. We condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks and other targeting of Israeli civilians. We condemn Israel’s continued illegal policy of settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a two-state solution. We support recognition of the independent State of Palestine as and when it will help the
prospect of a two-state solution.”
Green: “We seek a just, sustainable and peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on mutual recognition of the rights to independent statehood for Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn human rights violations by both parties and the oppression and disproportionate use of aggression by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza. We seek to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.”
UKIP: “In the Middle East, UKIP wants to see nations at peace, but acknowledges that sectarianism, fuelled by historical Western involvement, has rendered this all but impossible within a generation. We want to see a peaceful, two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
SNP: “We will call on the next UK government to pursue a two state solution for Israel and Palestine and to support the formal recognition of a Palestinian state.”
Liberal Democrat: “We will allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools. We will ensure all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction.”
Green: “We will phase out public funding of schools run by religious organisations. Schools may teach about religions, but should not encourage adherence to any particular religious beliefs.”
To view the Board’s Jewish Manifesto and use our online tool to contact your local parliamentary candidates, click here.
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