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Tories Jewish gaff

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-10-01



The Conservative Party has been branded insensitive and ignorant to the needs of the Jewish community with its annual conference in Bournemouth taking place on the most holiest day in the Jewish calendar - Yom Kippur.

With Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement starting on Sunday evening and running until Monday evening, Jewish Conservative supporters have slammed party organisers for not marking sure if the conference clashed with any important religious festivals.

As a party with several Jewish MPs including Oliver Letwin and Malcolm Rifkind, non-Jewish Tory supporters are surprised at how Yom Kippur wasn't flagged up before choosing the dates for this year's conference. 

"What message does this send out to the Jewish community, if the party if not sensitive to their needs," said one Tory supporter. "We are reaching out to all sections of Britain’s diverse community, but I fail to understand how we could have forgotten it was Yom Kippur, there are many Jews who would want to attend, but now cannot."

One Jewish Conservative Party member told SomethingJewish of his disappointment over the way the conference has been organised. "I had planned to attend this year's conference, but when I saw it started on the eve on Yom Kippur, it meant it would be impossible to be there for the first day or second day. I will be there on Tuesday and Wednesday, but of course, would have liked to been there for the first two days."

A Conservative Party insider told SomethingJewish that its leader David Cameron will be investigating the matter. "As a party that welcomes all, we are sorry that members of the Jewish community will be unable to attend, this was not deliberate and David will look into why we have held this year's conference over Yom Kippur and to see what steps we can take to avoid such a diary conflict to happen again in the future."