Cross-party motion urges ‘clear statement of support’ for Jewish residents

Camden Town Hall.

A cross-party motion has been put to Camden Council urging a “clear statement of support” for Jewish residents, following the daubing of antisemitic graffiti on a synagogue and shops during Hanukkah.

The images of the Star of David and ‘911’, referencing an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews were behind the September 11 terrorist attacks, were jointly condemned by council leader Georgia Gould and local MPs Tulip Siddiq  and Keir Starmer as perpetrated by “cowardly peddlers of hate”.

The council is now set to vote on the motion, which would reaffirm its commitment to challenging hate speech and conduct – it having adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in 2017.

The council immediately acted to remove the graffiti, with councillors working in the community following the images’ discovery to provide reassurance.

The motion was put forward by Cllr Abdul Hai (Lab, King’s Cross), cabinet member for cohesion, and seconded by Conservative Cllr Stephen Stark (Hampstead Town) and Lib Dem Cllr Luisa Porritt AM (Belsize).

The trio wrote: “In the last month Camden had a shocking reminder of the persistence of anti-Semitic sentiment in our communities with the painting of racist graffiti on Jewish businesses in Belsize and Hampstead and the South Hampstead Synagogue.

“That someone might seek to make our Jewish neighbours and colleagues afraid in their own community sickens us, and we are united in our condemnation of any acts of hate and prejudice that seek to divide us.

“We are proud that the response of Camden to the graffiti in Hampstead and Belsize has been not just words but to act – to show solidarity as well as sorrow that this has happened in our community.”

The motion goes on to address the importance of listening to the victims of hate and prejudice, and would reconfirm the Town Hall’s pledge to “challenge racism in all its forms and making Camden no place for hate”.

The council will vote on the motion at the full council on 20 January.