• Report on Chanukah Reception in Westminster

    The Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg, was the Guest of Honour at the APPG’s Chanukah Reception in Parliament in December. He was joined by over 60 Parliamentarians from the three main parties, as well as senior Jewish community figures and representatives of other faith communities in what is one of the key political networking events in the Jewish calendar.

    Nick Clegg described the APPG’s Secretariat, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has been in existence for over 250 years as “the voice of reason and respect”. “The Board is an extremely important part of the British social and political landscape. The Board has always been a powerful voice of reason and tolerance and respecting all the diverse traditions that make up the United Kingdom,” he said. 

    “The message of Chanukah, sticking to the values you believe in through thick and thin, is especially resonant today. Expressions of intolerance, of extremism and hatred – I’m afraid abound today – must be countered by messages of tolerance and resolve to stand up for the values of unity and respect. I pay tribute to the work of Vivian Wineman and the Board, and celebrate what so many members of the Jewish community have contributed to this country for such a long time.”

    He also praised the cross party work of the APPG on British Jews, for “bringing people together, which is particularly important at this time”.

    A message was read out on behalf of Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband by David Lammy MP, in which he paid tribute to the Jewish community and particularly to the work of the Board, including President Vivian Wineman and cited the Maccabees, the heroes of the Chanukah story, as the archetypal fighters for religious freedom.

    Robert Halfon MP, who kindly hosted the event, spoke about the Board’s involvement in Jewish communal life, including through the vehicle of the new APPG on British Jews.

    Vivian Wineman spoke about the festival of Chanukah, and lit the Chanukiah, alongside Robert Halfon MP, David Lammy MP, Matthew Offord MP, Lord Monroe Palmer and Baroness Ruth Deech.

    The 150 guests were then treated to a performance of traditional Jewish songs by the Menorah Foundation choir, following an introduction by Matthew Offord MP, Chair of the APPG on British Jews. The event took place in the ornate surroundings of the Strangers Dining Room in the House of Commons. To watch a video of the event please click here.