MANCHESTER Jewish community’s focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel issues has created a “victim mentality”, according to Labour MP Ivan Lewis.
He made the claim during Sunday’s Manchester Jewish Representative Council monthly meeting at the Nicky Alliance Day Centre.
The Bury South MP said: “We must stop looking through the prism of anti-Israel and antisemitism as the only things that matter in terms of our community’s engagement and interaction with wider society.
“It is a negative victim mentality, which is incredibly unhelpful.
“Someone described to me that the Jewish community has an incredibly sound defence . . . but what the Jewish community has forgotten is its attack.”
Mr Lewis pointed out the positives of the community.
He said: “The Fed and the Nicky Alliance Centre are among the best in the country at social care.
“King David schools and North Cheshire Jewish Primary School have achieved some of best results in the entire country.
“And the CST is a model of excellence at working hand-in-glove with Manchester’s police force.
“I’m not asking people to walk away from the antisemitism or anti-Israel agenda as, sadly, we won’t be able to do that on the long-term basis.
“But we are a much bigger and broader community than just that.”
Co-chairman of North West Friends of Israel Raphi Bloom supported Mr Lewis’ comments.
He told the Jewish Telegraph after the meeting: “The Jewish community has much to be proud of and it is indeed the case that our successes should be shared with the wider community.
“Where we can help others achieve success, we should do so.
“There are plenty of organisations to do this, not least of all the excellent Jewish Leadership Council.
“Now more than ever, we find ourselves fighting the Israel haters and antisemites found at all ends of the political spectrum.
“It is incumbent on each and every one in the Jewish community to stand together against this hatred.”
Marc Levy, North West regional manager of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “We are extremely fortunate as a community that our institutions are of the highest possible calibre.
“I am always proud to be able to meet the region’s politicians and point out that our schools, care provision and the CST are examples of excellence in their respective fields.
“The fact these bodies are happy to willingly meet politicians and other communities to export their expertise needs to be applauded.”
Also at the meeting, president Sharon Bannister questioned the validity of the Campaign Against Antisemitism report which stated that one-third of Britain’s Jews had thought about leaving the country.
She said: “We need to read into that very carefully. Has there really been an increase in antisemitism or has there been an increase in reporting it?
“We are very lucky to have CST — and our community is very good at reporting everything. This makes it difficult for antisemitism to happen anywhere.
“We need to continue reporting it, but do not get paranoid and think it is happening everywhere, all the time, every day. It isn’t.”
Mrs Bannister praised the Jewish Telegraph’s campaign to have all Jewish organisations purchase a life-saving defibrillator.
She said: “I thank the JT for bringing this campaign to our attention, and fully support it.
“We will be looking at getting one in our offices.”
It was also announced that the Rep Council has raised £11,000 funding, out of £32,000, for a new community youth worker.
Labour councillor Rishi Shori was the guest speaker at the meeting.
The leader of Bury Council, and cabinet member for Business Engagement and Regeneration, talked about social cohesion between different communities.
Tributes were paid to Rabbi Tony Walker and Dr Ephraim Jaffe, who died last month.