Camden Labour rejects claims it must do more to support Jewish community

Cllr Stephen Stark

Cllr Stephen Stark - Credit: Archant

Camden’s Labour group have furiously rejected claims they have not shown enough support to the Jewish community in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Cllr Abdul Hai. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Cllr Abdul Hai. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Conservative councillor Stephen Stark criticised a report from Labour’s Cllr Abdul Hai at the full council meeting on Monday, pointing out there was “no reference made about having a dialogue with or supporting the Jewish community” following the attack on a kosher supermarket in the French capital earlier this month.

Cllr Stark, of Hampstead Town ward, was widely heckled by Labour councillors in the council chamber as he criticised their response to the atrocity.

He said: “What was clear is Camden Council can and should be doing more to help the Jewish community.

“We have to do everything we can to show that we value the presence and the contribution which the Jewish community makes.”

Cllr Hai, cabinet member for customers, communities and culture, said he was “disappointed” with Cllr Stark’s comments and insisted he had written letters of support to synagogues and mosques following the attacks. Police patrols of synagogues have also been stepped up.

Following the meeting, Cllr Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Camden Council is working closely with Camden’s Jewish cultural and religious institutions, as well the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust.

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“We are aware that there are high levels of anxiety in the Jewish community at present.

“We are also concerned not to cause unnecessary levels of fear. We know there are differing perceptions in the community of what that balance should be and we are constantly keeping this under revision in partnership with all stakeholders.”