WATCH: Gordon Brown joins Jewish Labour Movement and says party has 'let Jewish community down'

Posted On: 
1st April 2019

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has joined the Jewish Labour Movement as he declared that his party has "let the Jewish community down".

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Credit: 
PA

The ex-Labour leader urged members to show “solidarity” with the Jewish affiliate group as he accused the party of allowing criticism of Israel to be used as “cover” for anti-Jewish abuse.

It comes just weeks after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission said it could launch a probe into the party to examine whether it has been guilty of anti-Jewish discrimination.

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Labour has been struggling to deal with claims of anti-semitism in its ranks since not long after Jeremy Corbyn became the party leader. 

Last month, the Jewish Labour Movement agreed not to immediately sever ties with the party, despite concerns about its handling of anti-semitism complaints.

In a video, Mr Brown paid tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved over 600 children from Nazi forces in Czechoslovkia.

He said: “The Labour party has always had a long, proud and noble tradition of standing up against all forms of prejudice and racism.

“But in the last few years it has let the Jewish community down. They should never have allowed legitimate criticism of the current Israeli government to act as a cover for the demonisation of the entire Jewish people.

“The message to the Jewish community should be clear and unequivocal: ‘You will never walk alone and we will never walk on by on the other side. We must never tolerate intolerance'."

He added: “Solidarity means standing up with those who are under attack and that is why I am joining as an affiliated member. I urge all my colleagues to do the same. 

“Tackling anti semitism and racism and fighting for equality is not a diversion nor a distraction from our purpose as party. It is our purpose as a party. We will never allow evil to triumph over good and neither will the British people.”

Responding to the video, Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge tweeted: “Thank you Gordon. Please watch this video. It’s what solidarity & rebuilding trust with the Jewish community looks like. A brilliant message on the anti-racism values that must underpin the Labour party and a call to renew our commitment to the Jewish Labour movement.”

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson also tweeted: “So proud of Gordon Brown today. Please share this message.”

Matthew McGregor, campaigns director for HOPE Not Hate, added: “The fight against antisemitism is one for all of us. We have to confront it wherever find it.

"Gordon Brown’s powerful new video message is a call to arms for Labour supporters to be part of ridding the labour movement of those engaged in racism against Jews, and those who for whatever reason choose to ignore it.”

Jewish Labour Members will be balloted in the coming weeks to decide whether they wish to formally sever their 100-year link with the party.