Commons Told It Must Ban Racist Incitements, Ratify Anti-genocide Pact

Sir Barnett Janner, Labor Member of Parliament and president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called upon the House of Commons here today to adopt an amendment to the Public Order Act of 1936, outlawing incitements to racial hatred. He spoke during the debate on the address of Queen Elizabeth II opening the resumed session, stating he had hoped that, in the speech, there would be some reference to a measure for banning incitements to racial hatred.

The question of amending the old Public Order Act became a hot issue in Britain after last summer’s anti-Semitic demonstrations by several of this country’s pro-Fascist and neo-Nazi organizations. The Board of Deputies has been circulating a petition to Parliament, seeking such an amendment, attempting to obtain 1,000,000 signatures to the petition.

Noting that racist incitements in this country are “contrary to the spirit and ideals of the people,” Sir Barnett said: “We should not let the idea get abroad, as it is being spread now, that we stand still and say that nothing can be done, when such incitements take place here.” He cited legislation in The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden where such measures have been adopted. Urging the same course for Britain, he said “we have had too much evidence in our own lifetime of the effects resulting from unrestricted freedom to propagate racial prejudice. Legislation banning such incitements is an over-riding necessity for us.” He also requested that Britain ratify the United Nations Convention Against Genocide.

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