BLS Statement on Conflict in Middle East – reaching out to colleagues affected banner

BLS Statement on Conflict in Middle East – reaching out to colleagues affected

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We acknowledge the ongoing situation in Israel and Palestine continues to affect not only those in the region, but many of our colleagues who have connections, or a shared heritage with the region, as well as those of the Muslim and Jewish faiths.

We are aware that this is having a direct impact on the wellbeing of our Jewish and Muslim colleagues, and those with friends, family or connections in the region will understandably be distressed and worried for their safety. We want to make clear that Bristol Law Society offers its full support for those members who are, whether directly or indirectly, affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis and continued conflict in Palestine and Israel.

There has been a substantial reported rise in Islamophobic and antisemitic hate crime, which we condemn in all forms. No person should have to live with the fear of violence, abuse, or less favourable treatment because of their race, heritage or religion, whether in their local communities or their place of work. We, as a profession, should feel a responsibility to set an example of respect, support and inclusion toward our Jewish and Muslim colleagues, and to make sure that our workplaces are safe and inclusive places where racism of any kind will not be tolerated.

We have been made aware that many of our colleagues affected by the conflict are suffering in silence and feeling unsupported in their working environments. This may not necessarily be as a result of racism or positive discrimination of any kind, but may even arise as a result of having no acknowledgement of their difficulties and no outlet to speak about the heavy burden that the conflict and its ripple effect may have upon them and their families.

We would therefore positively encourage our member firms to:

  • Check in with your colleagues who may be affected by the conflict.
  • Offer them a safe space to talk – without fear of judgment.
  • Share/sign post resources where they might seek help.

It is in times like these that it is important for us as a Profession to stand together; to respect and support each other; to be inclusive and to act with integrity for the benefit of the legal profession.

Stuart Henry, President, Bristol Law Society