Jewish leaders urge Labour’s Shadow Cabinet to 'examine their consciences' and stamp out anti-semitism

Posted On: 
19th July 2019

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet are being urged to “examine their consciences” as Jewish leaders call on them to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party.

Jewish groups have written to Labour's Shadow Cabinet ahead of a special meeting on anti-Semitism.
Credit: 
PA Images

It comes ahead of a special meeting of Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench team aimed at tackling the issue, after the crisis over anti-Jew hatred deepened following a recent BBC Panorama documentary.

Both the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have biw written to the Shadow Cabinet ahead of next week's meeting, with the JLC calling it “unprecedented” for Labour's top team to be discussing a “a racism crisis within its own movement”.

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The Board of Deputies meanwhile posted a series of recommendations for Labour to enact in order to regain the trust of British Jews.

The Board's president Marie van der Zyl said “a significant amount of the fault” lies with Mr Corbyn, as both groups criticised the way complaints of anti-Semitism have been handled.

JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein called the crisis “sickening”, adding: “We appeal to you, individually and collectively, to examine your consciences and do everything in your power to stop Labour Party anti-Semitism.”

He warned: "In this situation, to be silent is to be complicit. To fail to lead is to allow evil to flourish.”

Mr Goldstein went on to urge the senior Labour MPs to act to protect the future of British Jews, adding: “You now face a very difficult and unavoidable decision, in which inaction will signal your support for what has happened and what will follow.

“Please, do not under-estimate the importance of your actions for the future well-being of British Jews, or for the wider message that you give about racism, liberal democratic values and our British society.”

In her letter, Ms van der Zyl said to the Shadow Cabinet: “We urge you to take this opportunity to turn the tide.

“The alternative is to leave Labour permanently damage as an institutionally racist party. Our community and our country will not forgive any further failure.”

'DECISIVE ACTION'

The Shadow Cabient are meeting to discuss tackling anti-Semitism on Monday, but at the same time Labour peers could hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn over his handling of the issue.

In response a Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour Party is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and determined to root it out of our movement and our society.

“We stand in solidarity with Jewish people and we are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.

“We are taking decisive action against anti-Semitism, doubling the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and cases, and swiftly suspending and taking robust action against individuals.

“Since Jennie Formby became General Secretary, the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold. We will continue to act against this repugnant form of racism."