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Heated Debate Erupts at Board of Deputies over Ways to Fight Racism

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Sharp divisions on the way to fight the upsurge of racism surfaced yesterday at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A decision by the last meeting of the Board to participate in an anti-racist demonstration organized by the Indian Workers Association was criticized by a number of Board members, especially those representing the Herut Party.

The heated debate was sparked by Herut’s decision to write to the press disassociating itself from the participation in the demonstration. One deputy criticized Herut for “washing our dirty linen in public,” while another questioned what Herut’s stand on racism would have been if it had not been a Jewish body.

A Herut spokesman said his party abhorred racism, but refused to join forces, with those who wished to destroy Israel. Defenders of the Board’s action said that the Jewish community must fight alongside those groups being attacked, even if they included a “lunatic fringe” who tried to take over demonstrations. The Jewish community, with its long experience, should help the Asian and African groups fight against these elements, too.

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