We’ll stand up for the Jewish community and ask that you stand with us – by Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg addresses LDFI lunch 10 Nov 2010As a Liberal Democrat, I share many of the values the Jewish community holds dear. Education as a number one priority, together with the fundamental importance of community, security and freedom – including freedom from attack. That is why I continue to support the right of Israel to defend herself and her people. We are a party of opportunity – not least the belief that all people, regardless of ethnicity, disability, gender or sexual orientation, should be free from persecution and discrimination and have the chance to fulfil their potential. We are a party of liberty. We believe in a Britain that is open to trade, open to new ideas and that promotes equality and human rights across the world. We believe all people deserve a freer, greener and more prosperous world. In Government, we have cut tax for millions of working people, protected pensions, and invested in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium. And now, at this difficult time, we share your concerns as well your values. In the wake of appalling attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, we must do all we can to provide the help that communities need in order to feel safe. And with atrocities still perpetrated today around the world, we must never forget the lessons from the Holocaust. From foreign policy and security, to equality and education, the Liberal Democrats stand in solidarity with the Jewish people. There’s no doubt that there have, at times, been tensions between some in our party and the Jewish community, particularly over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ours is a democratic party where people can voice their opinions – and we do not always agree. So let me be clear: Israel has the right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks launched from Gaza and targeted at innocent Israelis. That is my view, and it is the view that the Party overwhelmingly supports. In Government, our urgent priority upon the outbreak of violence was to stop the bloodshed, restore the ceasefire and work towards a long-term sustainable peace. We condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. And we remain resolutely committed to seeing a negotiated peace settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes a two-state solution. Whatever your views on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, we must all be in agreement that the shocking rise in anti-Semitic attacks is intolerable in a civilised society. No parent should have to drop off their children at school in fear. That is why the Liberal Democrats will protect the £2.3million Central Government funding for security at Jewish state schools for the duration of the next parliament. It’s why we will continue to work closely with faith and community organisations, such as the Community Security Trust, as well as the Muslim Council of Britain, to prevent hate crime, including at places of worship. And it’s why the Liberal Democrats will ensure that we continue to fund one of the most powerful antidotes we have to anti-Semitism and extremism of all kinds – Holocaust education. In 2012, I had the honour of joining students on the Holocaust Educational Trust’s 100th visit to Auschwitz. That’s why in January I was proud to be the first party leader to pledge to protect the £9million budget for the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme to 2020. The Liberal Democrats will stand up for the Jewish community. We ask you to stand with us as we build a fairer, freer society, with opportunity for everyone

(by Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, and published in Jewish News 30 April 2015)

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