Jewish Labour Movement backs staying with party despite anti-semitism row

Posted On: 
7th March 2019

Members of the Jewish Labour Movement have voted to stand by the party despite ongoing rows over anti-semitism.

Jewish groups protest against anti-semitism in the Labour party last year.
PA Images

A show of hands at meetings in London and Manchester suggested they did not want to sever ties with the party, which the group has been affiliated to since 1920.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Shadow Cabinet and more than 100 Labour MPs all wrote to the the JLM in advance of the meetings urging them not to quit.

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At the end of an impassioned debate, it is estimated that around 80 per cent of those present at the London meeting backed remaining affiliated.

A formal vote of all JLM members will be held next month, when the final decision will be taken on whether or not to break away from Labour.

Speaking after Wednesday night's meetings, the organisation's national secretary, Peter Mason, said: "The message from the Jewish Labour Movement this evening was absolutely clear. If the Labour Party fails to show solidarity to us, we will not show solidarity to it.

"But we as a Jewish movement will make it very clear to the party leadership: we are not going anywhere, we are staying, we are standing and we are fighting against the corrupted anti-semitism that has gripped our party."

Labour MP Wes Streeting told the meeting in London: "It was painful listening to Jewish members describe their experience of being members of the Labour party, how some have been pushed to breaking point.

"This is ultimately about leadership and Jeremy Corbyn has to decide whether he is going to be a leader who repairs and strengthens or whether he is going to go down in history as the Labour leader who broke the Labour party."

In his message to the JLM in advance of the meetings, Mr Corbyn said: "I recognise the enormous distress caused to the Jewish community and, of course, to Jewish Labour members, when antisemitic sentiments and tropes are repeated by members of our party," he said.

"These concerns must not be denied or dismissed. It is not acceptable for an atmosphere of hostility or bigotry to arise in any corner of our movement."