On Wednesday 22 June a delegation of Rabbis and British Jews will visit Dale Farm in Essex, the largest Traveller and Gypsy-owned estate in the UK (and a former scrap yard), to express their solidarity with a hundred families that are facing the destruction of their homes by Basildon Council. The Council plans to forcibly evict these families from the land they own and bulldoze their homes in an operation that is estimated will cost £18 million.
The delegation will be met at Dale Farm by the President of the Gypsy Council Richard Sheridan and received in her home by residents' spokesperson Mrs Mary Ann McCarthy.
Rabbi Janet Burden said: "I believe that the history of the Jewish people calls on us to stand up for the vulnerable. I want to see for myself what is happening and to do what I can to help”.
Dan Glass, Jewish social justice activist said: "For many 2nd and 3rd generation Nazi Holocaust surviving Jews in the UK, we are inbuilt with a sense of injustice from a very young age. We are here to stand against the calculated policies perpetuating displacement of people and a breaking of human rights. Throughout our history our eyes have been opened - people have supported us for our freedoms and will will continue to share this solidarity with others."
Dr. Margaret Greenfields, who has long campaigned for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers' rights, is calling out to the Jewish community to help.
With the Rabbis will be members of the Jewish Socialists Group which has issued a statement saying that it believes the persecution, harassment and eviction of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in Britain is part and parcel of what is being carried out by the authorities in France, Italy and some eastern European countries.
It says the Jewish Socialists Group will actively encourage its members to join the Dale Farm Solidarity group and Dale Farm residents in resisting the huge £18m eviction operation at Dale Farm, which is to be funded by Basildon Council, the Home Office and the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The visit by the British Jewish delegation will coincide with the official launch of the website http://jewify.org, which makes the connection between persecuted populations such as Travellers and Jews by substituting the word “Jew” for “Gypsy” and “Traveller” in news articles.
Dale Farm Residents Association tel: 01206 523528 email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale Farm Solidarity tel: 0758 3761462 email: email@example.com
Jewish Solidarity delegation via Dan Glass tel: 0771 7811747
Notes for Editors:
The delegation will be meeting at Liverpool Street Station at 10:20 am on 22 June, to catch the 10:35 am train to Wickford. Meeting point will be the entrance to platform 10.