Yom Chamishi, 18 Iyyar 5779
Lag B Omer Thursday, 23 May 2019
LJ's senior rabbi tells BBC Radio why Britain must accept more refugees

7th September 2015

Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, has been on BBC Radio over the last few days urging the British Government to accept 20,000 refugees.

Speaking on the BBC World Service this morning, Danny said: “If you’re facing an emergency, then I believe the goodwill, skills and resources of Britain will find a way through.

“It does require a real effort from David Cameron and his Cabinet, local authorities and all of us as individuals. I am appealing particularly, as a faith leader, to the faith communities, who have been working hard to make this a practical reality rather than simply a statement.”

He added: “What we know is that very many migrants, indeed the overwhelming majority of them, prove to be excellent citizens who make great contributions to the cultural and economic wellbeing of society.”

Danny also spoke to Radio Five Live yesterday, appearing alongside former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Taking on the arguments of those who wish to limit the number of refugees coming to Britain and Europe, Danny replied: “The fact is there are people arriving on the European continent, who are desperate.

“Children are drowning in the sea, people are dying in lorries. If you put your children on a dingy when you know that many of these are lost at sea, then you must be pretty desperate.

“I accept there needs to be proper planning and that there is pressure put on schools, housing and the medical services – but I don’t think we can continue to simply say that this is not our problem.

“Liberal Judaism and Citizens UK have been calling for a minimum of 20,000 refugees. I accept that we can’t do everything, but we do need to do an appropriate share.”

In the two interviews, Danny also spoke about the response needed from the international community, ideas for tackling people smuggling and how Jews, Muslims and Christians working together to help refugees integrate.

You can listen to the interviews in full at the links below:

BBC Radio Five Live (from 2 hours 19 minuets) -> http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b068hh58#play

BBC World Service Radio (from 30 minutes) -> http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03183z3