Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in London on Sept. 5, 2019.

Great Britain’s populace will not be heading to the polls next month after opposition parties in Parliament this week denied Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s appeal for an October general election.

Had it taken place, however, its date would have been the second day of Sukkot rather than the first due to lobbying from the Board of Deputies. After the change was announced, BoD president Marie van der Zyl said: “While the new proposed date for a general election of October 15 is less than perfect, it does offer the advantage that religious Jews will be able to vote at polling stations when Sukkot finishes at around 7 p.m.


Charedi London Councillor Brian Gordon, however, had said that setting “an election on a date which is restricted for a recognized faith group [was] unfair.”

An election is not expected now until at least November.


Jewish MPs Find Themselves on
Opposite Sides of Key Parliamentary Vote

Jewish MP Richard Harrington, who recently resigned as Business Minister, was one of the 21 MPs expelled from the Conservative party by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week for voting to block a no-deal Brexit.

Harrington of Watford, who voted three times to leave the EU, said, “I don’t accept the view of the prime minister that the threat of a no deal will help get a better deal.”

Meanwhile, MP Ivan Lewis, who campaigned for Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, voted against the parliamentary bill to stop a no-deal Brexit. He described his decision to vote against the bill as “one of the most difficult” he ever made.

He told The Jewish Press, “Leaving with no deal is an economic risk, but so is continual uncertainty and yet more extensions. Uncertainty has led to business investment and consumer spending drying up. Continued uncertainty is likely to tip us into recession with a devastating effect on jobs and people’s standards of living.”

He added, “The government’s curtailing of Parliament is wrong, but so are MPs trying to thwart Brexit.”

Lewis met last week with Shechita UK and the Halal Monitoring Committee to ensure that British citizens will continue to have access to kosher and halal meat after Brexit.


Johnson Meets Netanyahu

Amidst the prime minister’s bruising week in Parliament last week, Boris Johnson still found to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who flew to London in an effort convince the UK to cease its talks with Iran.

Johnson emphasized to Netanyahu that the UK wants a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Back home after the visit, Netanyahu misspoke, telling his cabinet that he had met “Boris Yeltsin.” Cabinet members quickly corrected him.


Luciana Berger Finds Herself a New Party

Liverpool Jewish MP Luciana Berger, who earlier this year left the Labour Party because of anti-Semitism in its midst, has now joined the Liberal Democrats.

Party leader Jo Swinson, who has vowed to make her party “the natural home for Jews,” welcomed Berger.

There is speculation that Berger could stand for the Liberal Democrats in London’s Finchley and Golders Green, a marginal constituency with a high proportion of Jewish residents.


Labour Candidate Apologizes

Sara Conway, the Jewish Labour candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, has apologized for saying anti-Semitism in Labour had been “weaponized” by “certain media commentators.”

She said she had used “the wrong word.” She said, “Anti-Semitism is a real problem and I was in no way referring to those of us fighting it. I am part of the local Jewish community.”


Anti-Semitism Official Resigns

John Mann, a non-Jew who has campaigned against anti-Semitism, announced his resignation as an MP last week over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Mann, who chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism, was appointed a full-time government advisor on anti-Semitism by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Tuesday it was announced that Mann had been given a peerage in May’s farewell Honours List.


Stamford Hill Jews Harassed on Shabbos

Stamford Hill Jews were subjected to anti-Semitic abuse on Shabbat afternoon.

A group of nearly 30 men verbally harassed Jewish passers-by outside the area’s large Sainsbury’s supermarket, making comments like “Jews have long noses” and “Jews are taking over the world.”


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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.