'Being Jewish in UK is getting worse': Father's anger after baby's birth certificate 'defaced'

By John Mercury February 21, 2024

The father of a baby whose birth certificate was allegedly defaced to remove reference to Israel while with the UK’s passport authorities has told Sky News his daughter did nothing wrong and being Jewish in the UK is “very hard”.

Israel, the father of five-month-old baby Ronnie – whose certificate was allegedly altered – said the incident needed to be registered and that he would also complain to the police and thinks the person who did it should be sacked.

Israel was speaking to Sky News as the Home Office launched an investigation into the case after it was highlighted by the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Speaking about the incident, he said: “I don’t think my five-month-old baby did anything wrong to anybody‚Ķ I felt horrendous when I saw it for the first time.

“It took me a few more times to look at that and understand what’s going on.”

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Referencing a rise in antisemitism in the UK, the father-of-three said: “The situation here is not good. To be Jewish in the UK is very hard. And it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and worse. I think my daughter, in 20 years, that’s her future, because London is not London anymore, and I literally feel unsafe.”

Pic: Family handout
Image:
Pic: Family handout

Campaign Against Antisemitism, which exposes cases of antisemitism, said the certificate was sent off as part of a passport application two weeks ago and returned on Monday with the father’s place of birth defaced – something it said was “completely unacceptable”.

In a post on X, the group urged the Home Office – which oversees passport applications – to investigate on the grounds the department had “responsibility for law enforcement and the security of the Jewish community”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly replied and said he had asked officials to “investigate this urgently and will see that appropriate action is taken”.

Israel said that while Mr Cleverly’s “very swift” response gave him “hope”, he still feared for Jewish people living in the UK.

He said the government needed to re-vet people working in the public sector and that he did not feel confident sending documents to the Home Office following the incident.

Referring to the person culpable, Israel said he believed they had been “influenced wrongly”.

“You can debate if what Israel is doing is legitimate or not,” he said.

“But firstly you cannot debate if Israel is legitimate as a state or not. Scribbling it out is like saying ‘no, I’m not legitimate’.

“The other thing is, my baby is five months old. What does it have to do with where her father was born? This is horrendous.”

He added: “I just think this… person, immediately needs to be sacked.

“As well, we need to make sure it has been registered somewhere, that people know this guy cannot hold sensitive documents, because he takes his personal actions and he takes his personal political or even racism from home and he’s taking it to work. He gets paid from my taxes.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism highlighted the case on the same day that policing minister Chris Philp gave a statement in the MPs regarding the rise in antisemitic incidents in the UK last year.

Mr Philp referenced figures published by the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity providing security to Jewish schools and institutions, which revealed more than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the UK in 2023.

Mr Philp said the report made for “deeply disturbing reading” and that the figure provided was “the highest annual total” ever reported to the charity.

“There is no excuse for the behaviour outlined in the CST report, or seen in some of the shocking incidents that have occurred recently,” he said.

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“Whenever and wherever criminality involving antisemitism occurs, this government expects police to fully investigate the incident, and work with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The home secretary has asked officials to urgently investigate this matter and appropriate action will be taken.

“While the facts and circumstances are being established, it must be reiterated that this government will not tolerate antisemitism in any form.”

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