Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
 
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

A Jewish Manifesto for the
Scottish Parliament

 
30 March 2016
A Jewish Manifesto for the Scottish Parliament
Click on the picture to
read the full Manifesto

In advance of the Scottish elections on 5 May, SCoJeC, with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, have put together the first-ever ‘Manifesto’ to inform existing and prospective members of the Scottish Parliament about the interests and concerns of the Jewish community of Scotland.

The Jewish community prides itself on its representative and democratic structures, and the Manifesto has been formulated after consulting widely amongst Jewish people in Scotland. Although there is no single ‘Jewish view’ on many political issues, there is a great deal of unanimity on issues that directly affect the community, and throughout this document, we have sought to represent as much of that consensus as possible.

In particular, it is informed by SCoJeC’s two recent community-wide consultations, which were funded by the Scottish Government. More than 300 people contributed to each of our inquiries, Being Jewish in Scotland in 2012 and What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland in 2015. The findings show that Jewish people in Scotland, including those who are not religiously observant, value and rely on an infrastructure that is culturally sensitive and faith specific, and in which they can feel confident to express their identity in safety, but that their confidence has been badly shaken by the recent spike in antisemitic incidents.

The Jewish community in Scotland is keen to promote Scotland as an attractive place for Jewish people to live, but for this to be successful, Scottish society, and in particular political leaders, must ensure that Scotland continues to be a safe and welcoming place for Jewish people to practise their religion and culture, and, very importantly, that it is seen as such by people elsewhere in the UK and worldwide.

Launch of the Jewish Manifesto for the Scottish Parliament

We have therefore identified a number of ‘asks’ for politicians to consider, relating to matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Government, and have distilled these into “Ten Commitments” that we ask politicians to make.

We presented copies to the party leaders at the very first moment of the election campaign, immediately after the very last moment of the outgoing Scottish Parliament, when they and their MSPs were piped from the Chamber. The manifesto has also been sent to candidates from all the main parties contesting the elections, who will be invited to express their support. The advocacy campaign will be supported by the hashtag #TenCommitments on social media, as well as a hustings event with the main parties' candidates in the Eastwood constituency.

SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski said:

"Successive First Ministers have made much of the fact that Scotland is the only country in Europe from which Jews have never been expelled, but sadly that does not mean Jews have always felt comfortable here, and our recent studies of the experience of "Being Jewish in Scotland" have unfortunately shown increasing levels of anxiety and alienation. However, the issues that matter to the Jewish Community are far wider than hate crime and its effects, encompassing the full range of devolved policy areas – education, health, welfare, local government, community and interfaith relations, and the effect on Jewish people of extremist anti-Israel activity. We trust that political leaders of all parties will welcome this overview of communal concerns, and commit themselves to making Scotland a place where the Jewish Community, and all other minorities, can feel safe and secure."

Board of Deputies CEO Gillian Merron said:

"We are delighted to have produced the first-ever Jewish manifestos for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, and the Northern Ireland Assembly, working with the representative bodies of the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish communities. This builds on the success of the manifestos for the 2015 General Election and the 2014 EU elections. We hope that our communities will use the documents in their efforts to inform candidates about the community’s priorities and enable the next crop of national elected representatives to champion Jewish interests and concerns with increased understanding and effectiveness."

Paul Morron, President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, said:

"This is an important piece of political engagement for the Jewish Community. It is good to see three of the principal Jewish representative bodies working in collaboration together for the good of the Community."

 

The Ten Commitments

We would ask politicians of all parties to commit to:

1.

Promoting respect for religious observance.

2.

Promoting good relations, understanding, and cooperation between all of Scotland’s communities, and actively supporting projects that bring them together.

3.

Opposing all forms of hate crime, and in particular racism and religious hatred, including antisemitism, sectarianism, and anti-Muslim hatred. 

4.

Promoting and enhancing community safety, both by supporting initiatives that foster resilience, and by funding appropriate security measures.

5.

Recognising that not all “communities” are geographical neighbourhoods, that census statistics can be misleading, and that minority communities can, therefore, be invisible at the local level, so that adequate support for communities requires a combination of national and local networks and initiatives.

6.

Ensuring that health, welfare, education, and other services are fully equipped to provide appropriate support for people of all religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

7.

Supporting the provision of religiously and culturally specific community support services for those who would like to live and be cared for in such an environment.

8.

Recognising that “Getting it Right for Every Child” requires respect for young people’s identities as developing members of their own faith or cultural community.

9.

Supporting education about the Holocaust, and refuting and confronting those who seek to deny, minimise, or downplay the Holocaust.

10.

Acting responsibly when making statements concerning the Middle East, including about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

Click here to read the complete Jewish Manifesto for the Scottish Parliament

 

   
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