Political parties battle for Jewish votes at community hustings

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Political parties battle for Jewish votes at community hustings

The events formed part of a series of hustings in London ahead of May’s local elections.

Gabriel Rozenberg Adrian Cohen. Susan Pascoe Ross Houston and Peter Zinkin (Jewish News)
Gabriel Rozenberg Adrian Cohen. Susan Pascoe Ross Houston and Peter Zinkin (Jewish News)

Political parties’ records on tackling Jew hatred formed one of the battlegrounds in this week’s Jewish Community Hustings in Hendon and Finchley as candidates battled for Jewish votes.

The hustings, supported by Jewish News, led local politicians from Barnet and Camden into subjects such as planning and transport, as well as tackling antisemitism and engaging Jewish communities.

The Labour Leader of Camden Council Georgia Gould, who is Jewish, faced questions from the audience on issues such as the Haverstock Hill cycle lane, the O2 Centre redevelopment, and the borough’s healthy school streets.

The debate which ensued led to a question on council consultations, with one resident in attendance saying: “We don’t have confidence because we don’t believe that you listen to what we say.”

On antisemitism, Gould defended Camden Labour’s record, referencing engagement with the Community Security Trust (CST) and local communities, and her pride being a Jewish council leader.

Camden Conservatives Leader Oliver Cooper said the Labour Council needed to do more and “follow-up their words with actions”. The Liberal Democrats’ Tom Simon said: “Some in the Jewish community are losing confidence in the Police’s ability to tackle antisemitism.”

In Hendon, at a hustings taking place at Ner Yisrael Synagogue, residents berated Barnet Conservatives representative Peter Zinkin over the proposed Hendon Hub plan involving Middlesex University.

Zinkin said he accepted that there was “opposition” to the scheme and did not “expect to change the minds of those opposing it”, but said the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

Labour’s Ross Houston and the Liberal Democrats’ Gabriel Rozenberg both expressed their opposition, as Rozenberg urged voters to “remember the benefits of having Middlesex University in the borough”.

Also in attendance at the hustings was current West Hendon Councillor Helene Richman, fresh from defecting from Barnet Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats.

The events formed part of a series of hustings in London ahead of May’s local elections supported by Jewish News, put on by the London Jewish Forum, Jewish Leadership Council, and Board of Deputies with local Jewish communities.

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