Jewish Labour group cancels anti-Semitism training amid ‘censorship’ accusations

Posted On: 
19th August 2018

The Jewish Labour Movement has refused to deliver anti-Semitism training at this year’s annual conference in Liverpool, claiming that party leaders tried to “censor’ its programme.

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According to the Independent, the group was told not to mention high profile anti-Semitism cases – including those involving former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Labour MP Naz Shah – during the sessions.

The confrontation prompted JLM to withdraw its scheduled course, despite having provided the training at two previous party conferences.

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In a letter to the head of Labour’s National Executive Committee, Jennie Formby, JLM chair Ivor Caplin wrote: “You may also be aware that we have withdrawn from offering to deliver the anti-Semitism awareness module at party conference in Liverpool after some of its content was censored.

“We presume this was to make the module compliant with the anti-Semitism code of conduct that neither JLM or the Jewish community have any confidence in.”

Mr Caplin also accused the party of attempting to “deliberately undermine” the Jewish group and said it has caused “further tension” over the issue.

A source told the newspaper: “The training programme was commissioned by the party two years ago. It was written in consultation with them and the Jewish community, and agreed by them.

“In discussions relating to this year’s party conference, JLM were told that the leader’s office wanted certain things taken out. It wasn’t a request, it was a command.”

Labour has been under fire over the past few weeks after the leadership decided not to adopt the International Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, including the accompanying definitions.

After a backlash from Jewish groups and a string of the party’s own MPs, the NEC later agreed to reopen talks on its new code of conduct.

Reigniting the row last week, Unite boss Len McCluskey hit out at Jewish community leaders, branding them “intransigent” and accusing them of using the dispute to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

The union chief  did, however, call for full adoption of the anti-Semitism definition, although he added that he was “at a loss to understand the motives of the leadership of the Jewish community” who continued to raise the issue.

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews responded: “We note that Len McCluskey has advocated the adoption of the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and its illustrative examples.  

"However, his attack on the Jewish community is both unfair and unwarranted. We have had a deluge of words from the Labour leadership.

"It is about time that the Party resolved this crisis by taking the firm and decisive action which the communal leadership set out for them in detail months ago. They have so far failed to do what is right.”