It is with deep regret that my good friend and devoted colleague, Mike Freer MP, has had to resign for fear of his own personal safety. Like his constituents, I will not forget the immense fortitude that he has demonstrated representing Finchley for over 30 years.
Mike’s constituency is hugely important. It is the only one in the UK with a Jewish population of around 20% – the highest anywhere in the country. In some ways, the nation’s treatment of Finchley and Golders Green represents its treatment of the Jewish people. And since Hamas’ barbaric 7th October attack, the constituency has seen an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents.
As a proud and public supporter of Israel, who passionately represents the views of his constituents, Mike has been a lightning rod for extremists and antisemites. Extremists like Ali Harbi Ali who murdered Sir David Amess MP for his stated membership of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) targeted Mike for the same reason.
Despite this appalling abuse, Mike has invested tremendous energy into standing up for what he believes. Mike has visited Israel multiple times with CFI including for Prime Minister Cameron’s landmark speech to the Knesset, become a regular shul-goer and served as vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.
When Palestinian statehood was debated in Parliament in 2014 Mike resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary on a point of principle.
Mike has always had a clear moral compass. Although Mike may not have been wearing a yellow star in the ‘40s, he has shared with me when attending Holocaust Memorial Day events that he would have been persecuted and forced to wear a pink triangle by the Nazis.
Mike has always understood that those same repressive instincts now drive a deep distain for Israel, the only nation in the Middle East where the rights and freedoms of all minorities are enshrined into law.
In this regard, I am reminded of the words of the great, late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. In this case, the scourge of antisemitism has led to the unforgivable sustained attack on our community’s devoted champion, Mike Freer.
We sadly live in a time where expressions of support for Israel too often carry personal risks. As we battle against this intolerance, we must never lose sight of the friendship – and risks that it entails – from so many Parliamentarians. Thank you, Mike.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.