The Rt Hon. Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Ian Austin MP have today become honorary patrons of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Their appointment is a demonstration of the very considerable gratitude felt by the Jewish community for their uncompromising and principled stance against antisemitism in society and in politics.
Throughout their parliamentary careers, as well as in recent days, both Dame Margaret and Mr Austin have confronted antisemitism without fear or favour.
Dame Margaret’s parents and Mr Austin’s father were refugees from the Nazi onslaught. Their families taught them how antisemitism had transformed seemingly-civilised European society into the society which committed some of mankind’s most appalling crimes, and instilled in them a firm sense of justice and the determination to fight bigotry wherever they saw it. As MPs both Dame Margaret and Mr Austin led successful campaigns to vanquish the far-right British National Party in their respective constituencies of Barking and Dudley North. Both are now facing disciplinary action by the Labour Party for remonstrating with the Party’s leadership about antisemitism that has now become rife in the Party.
Dame Margaret and Mr Austin join other public figures as honorary patrons of Campaign Against Antisemitism, including Sir Eric Pickles, Lord Mitchell, Lord Ahmed, Lord Carey, Baroness Deech and Col Richard Kemp.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been at the forefront of the fight against the far-right, successfully lobbying for National Action to be the first far-right group to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation, privately prosecuting a neo-Nazi YouTuber, and successfully taking the Crown Prosecution Service to judicial review over a decision not to prosecute a neo-Nazi leader. The charity has also taken a leadership role within the Jewish community in standing up to antisemitism in the Labour Party, including organising major demonstrations outside Labour Party Headquarters and in Parliament Square, as well as filing three disciplinary complaints against Jeremy Corbyn.
Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Dame Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin are rightly seen as heroes by the Jewish community for bravely facing their own Party and calling out the antisemitism that is rife within it. They are being persecuted by the Labour leadership in an apparent purge, simply for standing up to antisemitism. Appointing them as honorary patrons of our charity is our way of thanking them for showing solidarity with the Jewish community, in the best traditions of the Labour Party of old.”