In a debate in Parliament before summer recess began,Barbara highlighted the problems for Jewish residents and young people in Salford and Manchester by a recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks and violent incidents.
Anti-Semitism in Britain is on the rise and Barbara worked with several other MPs from all political parties on an All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into this and the issues caused by it. In her speech, Barbara highlighted the situation in Greater Manchester.
“The experience of communities in Greater Manchester formed an important part of our inquiry as 10% of the UK Jewish population live here, making it the second largest Jewish population in the country. A quarter of this population lives in Salford. The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greater Manchester seems to be disproportionately higher than the rest of the country, with around 25% of incidents and nearly 50% of violent anti-Semitic attacks taking place in Greater Manchester. However, this may be due to a better level of recording and monitoring in Greater Manchester.”
“The increase in attacks is serious and has led to security measures such as reinforced fencing and CCTV being accepted as standard by Jewish schools and community facilities. At one school, King David in Manchester, as well as having fire drills the pupils have bomb drills. Schools and families should not have to do this. I also feel that parents should also not have to pay the costs of the extra security for schools which the police and Community Security Trust advise them to have.”
In the past anti-Semitism came from the far right-wing of politics. The Inquiry found anti-Semitism was also happening due to current tensions between communities and resentment over the current situation in the Middle East, and called for more work be done to harmonise community relations and to tackle hate crime. The Government welcomed the Inquiry and responded by promising to build on improving practise to ease inter-community tension and ensure that the legal framework exists to punish those who perpetrate race hate crime.
Welcoming the Government’s response, Barbara said:
“There is much to welcome in the Government’s response to our inquiry, and despite the high number of anti-Semitic incidents there are also examples of good practice in Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester police is exemplary in how it records and monitors anti-Semitic incidents and co-operates with the Community Security Trust. I was pleased to see that the Government recognizes that it is unacceptable that anti-Semitism has not been taken as seriously as other forms of hatred in some parts of society and has pledged to take steps to deal seriously with the situation. I shall also continue to lobby the Government to deal with the issue of extra support for security in schools”.