“Cllr Angela Argenzio made her first full speech in council on Wednesday 2nd October 2019 on the debate on the motion about adopting a definition of anti-Semitism.
The content of Angela’s speech is:
“My English Literature teacher in High School had a huge influence on me: she not only taught me to love literature but also to develop a critical mind. She never, however, disclosed the fact that she was Jewish, nobody in school knew. It has always bothered me that she did not feel that she could be open about who she was, and this in the country with the oldest Jewish community in Europe, as the Jews came to Rome before the Christians.
Having been a human rights activist since the age of 15 I believe that it is particularly important at our time in history to re-affirm our support for the Jewish people and to stand against antisemitism. And in fact to stand against any kind of xenophobia.
We also need to recognise that conflating Jewish and Israeli identity is inappropriate and it is in itself antisemitic. It is like saying that being catholic and being Italian are the same thing.
Furthermore we must be clear that it is not antisemitic to criticise the Israeli government and to hold it to internationally recognised human rights standards, in the same way that it is not Islamophobic to criticise Saudi Arabia for their human rights violations in Yemen.
Lord Mayor, it is paramount now, when this country and the world in general seem to be polarised and when certain people in power seek to set us against each other, to say loudly and clearly that we will not accept or condone any form of intolerance.
So let Sheffield, the first City of Sanctuary, send a clear message of hope in contrast with the rhetoric that currently dominates the political and media discourse.”