BY SARA RADIVAN
LIVERPOOL’S Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram admitted that Labour has got antisemitism wrong.
Mr Rotheram met Marc Levy, the North West External Affairs Manager for the Jewish Leadership Council and executive members of the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council on Monday.
He stated that he was happy to hear that there is little antisemitism in Liverpool, which he put down to the city being multi-cultural.
“But things can change very quickly and this is frightening,” he added. “Anything we can do to reinforce the current situation in Liverpool, we are happy to do.”
Mr Rotheram told his guests: “I think my great-grandfather was a Lithuanian Jew.”
He said that when he watches Liverpool FC, there are no racist chants inside the ground, “but when I go to the pub before or after a match, the racism is alive in the pub.
“We must act very quickly on people who have these views.
“I do not have a racist or antisemitic bone in my body; racism and antisemitism are unacceptable.”
Mr Rotheram understood that anti-Zionism is spilling over into antisemitism and felt education and more role models are needed.
“I don’t speak for the Labour Party, but I am part of the Labour family,” he said.
“We have antisemitism wrong, it should have been put to bed early on, but it wasn’t identified.”
Mr Rotheram took pride in stating that the Combined Authority (six local councils of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) are to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism today before the Labour Party conference starts in Liverpool.
Dame Louise Ellman MP stated that locally there were good relations between the Jewish and wider communities.
She added that most of the onslaught of local antisemitism was on social media.
Louise also expressed that the local Jewish community felt “uneasy” and “we are living in challenging times as a community”.
However it was reiterated to Mr Rotheram that “Liverpool is a bit sheltered from antisemitism, but that still doesn’t stop us from thinking ‘what if?’”
It was also stated that “around our yomtov and Shabbat tables, everyone is talking about their escape plan, especially if Labour is successful in the next election.”
Merseyside Jewish Representative Council chairman Michelle Hayward presented Mr Rotheram with a new Year Book and gave a brief update on the activities of the Liverpool Jewish community.
She invited Mr Rotheram to the Civic Service at Princes Road Synagogue on Sunday, March 10.
Verbal invitations were also extended to Mr Rotheram to visit Stapely Care and the offices of Merseyside Jewish Community Care.