Letter in response to Lord Finkelstein’s article on the Sewell Report

In response to Lord Finkelstein’s article (Why were Jews left out of government report on racism?, 9 April, The Jewish Chronicle), it needs to be remembered that the Sewell report was commissioned in response to the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent issues raised. This report should have been directed to the lived experience of too many within black and Asian communities who are blighted by racial inequality in many areas - housing, health, employment, policing, etc. For example, black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women and Asian women twice as likely. Black unemployment is double that of white unemployment. Further striking examples of such inequality were revealed by the disproportionate impact of Covid.

In the fight against racism, there are times when all minority groups need to be considered collectively, and other times when certain groups need to be looked at specifically. We do well to remember the disquiet when previous attempts to deal with antisemitism also referred to "and all other forms of racism". There is of course room and a need for discussion and debate about where the Jewish community itself fits into the category of ethnic minority. This needs to take into account the diverse ethnicity of many within our community which has in itself too often been ignored. This past year has given added impetus for all of us to consider our place in a diverse Britain. Central to this is to show solidarity with other communities and demand the government responds to pervasive and continuing racial inequality by systematically implementing many of the 200 recommendations made by previous official inquiries. Doing so would help make Britain a fairer society, which in turn would be “good for the Jews”.

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality.