Luciana Berger 311.
(photo credit: marc israel sellem)
One of the youngest faces at this week’s International Conference of Jewish
Parliamentarians in Jerusalem was Luciana Berger, 30, a member of the UK
An active supporter of Israel who has visited the country
over 20 times, Berger said she is “keenly aware” of her responsibilities as a
Jewish lawmaker, and was excited to visit as an elected
Berger’s background as a leader of the UK’s National Union of
Students gave her a unique perspective on one of the conference’s hot topics:
boycotts and delegitimization.
“BDS has been raised in parliament,”
Berger told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s a topic the new government is particularly
aware of.” The Labor MP called for UK campuses to follow the lead of Manchester
University, which has guidelines for speakers that students are permitted to
“There’s a big push around the UK for other universities to adopt
these guidelines, because they can help stop speakers that break
Berger, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2010, said
that she hopes to find ways to cooperate with lawmakers from other countries on
these issues, adding that she gained a new perspective on being a Jewish
parliamentarian in the UK.
“As Jewish parliamentarians or elected
officials, we are in the minority, but in the UK, I don’t feel isolated as some
of the others said,” Berger explained, adding that, while Jews are half of a
percent of the UK’s population, they make up 4 percent of
“I’ve never felt victimized, but I could understand why other
people do, and I think it’s helpful for them to see our strength,” she
Berger told the Post that she thinks Jewish lawmakers “should be
encouraging non- Jewish parliamentarians to get involved in our
“It’s [too] predictable when someone Jewish gets up and talks on
behalf of Israel,” Berger explained, mentioning recently deceased MP David
Cairns, a former Catholic priest who chaired the Labor Friends of
“It’s people like David Cairns that were incredibly helpful and did a
great service for the Jewish people of the UK, supporting the right of Israel to
exist and promoting the peace process.”
Berger, who serves as Shadow
Minister for Climate Change, explained that she hopes to be able to meet her
Israeli counterparts on her next trip here.
“I’m particularly interested
in what Israel is doing on the electric car front, because we’re behind here in
It’s vitally important that we do what we can to de-carbonize our
countries and our communities, and electric vehicles are key.”
As one of
the youngest conference delegates, Berger said she feels “responsible to learn
from people and their experience.”
What I don’t have in experience and
age, I make up for in energy and enthusiasm,” she said.
Berger has seen
her share of tabloid headlines after being romantically linked to Tony Blair’s
son and fellow Labor MP Chuck Umunna, who was nicknamed “Britain’s Obama” by the
British press. She was also dubbed “most fanciable MP” in a Valentine’s Day poll
by The Mirror.
“I think it’s important to do as much as possible to
engage young people in politics, but not through celebrity,” Berger told the
Post when asked about the title, citing “massive distrust” and a feeling of
disenfranchisement in UK politics.
“It distracts from what we’re trying
to do. I don’t think any MP wanted to be referred to in the poll. We’re not in