Jewish Conservative campaigner recalls being told 'you're not welcome' in Birmingham

Jewish Conservative campaigner recalls being told 'you're not welcome' in Birmingham
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 27/06/2024

- 09:20

A Conservative Jewish campaigner has said he was told he was ‘not welcome’ because he was Jewish when delivering leaflets in a suburban area of Birmingham.

Michael Rowe, who is chair of the Young National Jewish Assembly, said he was confronted by a woman who sought him out after asking what he was doing in the neighbourhood.

Speaking to GB News, Michael Rowe said: “I was campaigning on a quiet street in Birmingham. It was not a particularly busy time of the day when I was leafleting. A lady then approached me from our house. She'd actually just driven into the close and she asked me why I was there, to which I responded: ‘I'm delivering election literature’, which of course we all know everyone is free to do in this country. It's a great strength of our democracy.

“The lady then responded, ‘well, you're not welcome here’ to which I responded, ‘Well, why not?’

“And she said, ‘Because you're Jewish.’

“So it was completely explicit in what she said. She used anti-semitism. She used that explicitly on the streets of Britain, and I think it's a growing problem.

“Since the 7th October, it's only got worse and this problem is continuing to escalate and we're seeing it across the country.

“She can identify that [I am Jewish] by the skullcap that I wear on my head. So just to say for context that I've worn that for a long time, all around the country, to different events, and I have to say, I've never experienced anything like this before. But since 7th October, these attacks and these types of racial slurs and racial insults are ever increasing and it's a big problem.

“She was a white, middle-aged lady. I’ve never met her before, I didn't have any reason to come across. I wasn't even looking to speak to her because it was only a letter for delivery. I wasn't even knocking on her door to speak to her about the election. And she then felt it was appropriate to use that slur against me.

“Anti semitism has unfortunately always been a problem and it's not looking like it's going to go away anytime soon.

“But since the Hamas attacks, the terrorist attacks of the 7th October, where innocent civilians were murdered in cold blood, we've seen a massive increase in anti semitism.

“I have to say the pro Palestinian rallies are making things even worse. Now obviously everyone has the right to freedom of expression, to democracy. Everyone has the right to protest in our country.

“That does not mean everyone has the right to insult other people. And I've seen for myself that I wouldn't want to walk into pro Palestinian marches I've seen as I leave work in the centre of London on almost a weekly basis, and it's absolutely disgraceful.”


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