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Fri, 26 February 2021

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Jewish Labour Movement says it will not campaign to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister

Jewish Labour Movement says it will not campaign to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister
3 min read

The Jewish Labour Movement will not campaign to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister, it has announced.

The organisation - which has been affiliated to Labour since 1920 - said it will only support "exceptional candidates" in the upcoming general election because of the party's failure to root out anti-semitism among its members.

They will include its parliamentary chair, Ruth Smeeth, and other Labour MPs who have been "unwavering in their support of us".

It is understood to be the first time the JLM has not mounted a nationwide election campaign to try to elect a Labour government.

Earlier this year, the organisation voted to remain affiliated to Labour despite its long-standing concerns over Mr Corbyn's attempts to tackle anti-Jewish racism among his supporters.

A month later, it passed a motion of no confidence in his leadership of the party.

In a statement, the group said "a culture of anti-semitism has been allowed to emerge and fester" in the Labour party since Mr Corbyn became leader in 2015.

"This crisis of anti-semitism in the Labour party stems from a failure of leadership from Jeremy Corbyn," the JLM said. "When the answer has been to take swift, decisive action, the reality has been equivocation and token gestures.

"Time and time again, the party has not engaged in good faith to try to implement the actions that we believe are necessary to tackle anti-Jewish racism."

Claiming the last four years had been "catastrophic for Jews in the Labour party", the statement went on: "We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our Pparliamentary chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us.

"We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour held seats.

"This does not mean that we no longer support the Labour party’s policies and its historic values, nor do we wish to see Boris Johnson or Jo Swinson in Downing Street.

"The Jewish Labour Movement has a long and proud history of activism in Labour party and the wider Labour movement and 2020 marks our 100th anniversary of affiliation to the Labour party.

"Fighting racism, prejudice and intolerance is at the heart of our Labour values – it is the failure of the leader and his supporters to live these values which has led us to take this stance."

A Labour party spokesperson said: "The Labour party is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continues to take robust action to root out anti-semitism in the party and wider society. 

"We have imposed swift suspensions and the rate at which cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold. Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that anti-semitism has no place in the party, has brought forward reforms to fast-track expulsions, and launched an education programme to deepen understanding of anti-semitism within our movement.

"We are gearing up to launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen."

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