British Opposition Leader Demands Zero-tolerance Toward anti-Semitism

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Ed Miliband, leader of Britain's opposition Labour PartyCredit: Bloomberg

The documented growth of anti-Semitism in Britain should serve as a wake-up call, British Labour leader Ed Miliband said Tuesday, urging a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism.

"the recent spate of incidents should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who thought the scourge of anti-Semitism had been defeated and that the idea of Jewish families fearful of living here in Britain was unthinkable," Miliband said in a Facebook post.

Miliband noted the uptick in anti-Semitic violence coincided with the summer conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip, saying the issue should be tackled "head on, because I am clear that this can never excuse anti-Semitism, just as conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East can never justify Islamophobia."

Miliband, the son of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Britain, also mentioned the attacks against his party members Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman, referring to anti-Semitic Tweeter campaigns targeting the Jewish MPs. Miliband said social media sites should crack down on the perpetrators of anti-Semitic abuse.

"We need a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK and to reaffirm our revulsion to it in all its forms," Miliband said, concluding his post by saying this approach will go hand-in-hand with his party's foreign policy and its pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

In October, the Labour Party led a non-binding Parliament vote recognizing the Palestinian state, raising the ire of some pro-Israel Labour MPs.

In September, Miliband was named as Britain's eighth most influential Jew by the Jewish Chronicle, which said the Labour leader could either top the list a year from now or disappear from it altogether, depending on his success next May in becoming Britain's first Jewish prime minister since Disraeli.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Miliband's relationship with his religion, as well as with his community, has been "somewhat tortuous," and noted that his criticism of Israel over the Gaza war has threatened to alienate him and his party from British Jews "for years to come."

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