Fabian Hamilton - UK Parliament official portraits 2017

Fabian Hamilton MP has released the speech he was unable to make as a Labour front bench spokesperson for the Middle East at the debate on anti-Semitism last week.
And the Leeds North East politician since 1997 was forthright in his would-be address on the topic that has afflicted his party.
“Anti-Semitism must be stamped out wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. We can never accept a society where such abuse is tolerated,” he noted.
Detailing his own family’s history, Mr Hamilton recently discovered that his great-grandmother, Raina Sevilla, who was born in Bulgaria and married in Istanbul, had been murdered in Birkenau in July 1942.
Her journey to the notorious death camp came about eight years after she moved from Geneva to Paris with family members.
After Paris fell to the Nazis, like hundreds of thousands of French Jews, she wore a yellow star on her coat. Then in the summer of 1942, registered Jews were systematically arrested and taken to the Vel D’hiv, the Paris velodrome from where they were moved to Drancy, near the railhead at Bobigny.
Cattle trucks left daily for extermination camps. Raina was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“Like almost every other Jewish family alive in Britain today, I have a direct connection to the Holocaust and through that a direct connection to the nation that was created in 1948 to give safety and security to the Jewish people after the catastrophe of that appalling genocide on such an industrial scale,” he noted.
Three of Mr Hamilton’s other grandparents were born abroad, as was his father, who couldn’t speak English. Yet eight years after arriving in England he began national service with the British Army.
Turning his attention to the modern-day issues afflicting the Labour Party, he noted:
“One of the most disturbing aspects of the current wave of anti-Semitism, is that humanity has clearly not learned from the lessons of history.
“If we are ever to create a truly harmonious and peaceful society, we have to stamp out the ignorance and fear that leads to hatred, whether of the Jewish people, or of any other cultural or religious group within society.
“It is more important than ever before, at this moment in the history of the Labour Party, that we confront the evil of anti-Semitism immediately and without prevarication.
“Pretending that it doesn’t exist will not deal with the problem, and our Party has to ensure that whatever mistakes it has made up until now are put right, confronted and removed before further damage is done.”
He added: “We want our Jewish supporters back because in my experience, the North Leeds Jewish community, has not only contributed so much to the Labour Party over more than a hundred years but also has a strong social conscience and sense of social justice.
“It cares deeply not only about its own community but also about the health and welfare of the whole city of Leeds and has made such an enormous contribution to it.
“Disillusioned Jewish former members and supporters must feel comfortable once again in the Labour Party.”