Labour branch rejects motion condemning Pittsburgh massacre over anti-Semitism references

Posted On: 
3rd November 2018

A Labour branch meeting rejected a motion condemning the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre because it contained references to anti-Semitism, a senior party official has claimed.

Memorials for each of the 11 shooting victims is surrounded by flowers, notes and candles at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
PA Images

Activists in Stockton-on-Tees clashed at a meeting held in the wake of the tragedy, in which 11 Jewish worshippers were shot dead.

The emergency motion presented to the meeting said: "We believe that these murders tragically demonstrate the dangers posed by the growth in antisemitic sentiments and hate speech internationally, which has arisen in a political climate where governments and opportunist politicians have encouraged the scapegoating of minorities."

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It went on: "We resolve to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world and send our condolences to all those affected by the tragic events in Pittsburgh; to recognise that antisemitism exists in society and affirm our belief that such prejudice must be confronted and eradicated wherever it arises; to call on the Labour Party to lead the way in opposing antisemitism and fighting racism in
all its forms."

But writing on Facebook, Steve Cooke, secretary of the Norton West branch of the Labour party, said the motion was rejected by the meeting.

He said: "Arguments made against the motion included that it should say we were against all racism not just antisemitism. I pointed out that the motion clearly expressed concern about 'racist hate crime more generally', criticised governments and opportunist politicians for the 'scapegoating of minorities', cited Tell Mama UK, the Islamophobia monitoring organisation, and it affirmed our commitment to 'fighting racism in all its forms'.

Mr Cooke also claimed that a previous branch meeting, on 19 October, had rejected attempts to set up anti-Semitism awareness training for local Labour members.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that the Metroplitan Police have launched an inquiry into claims of anti-Semitic hate crimes in Labour.

The move comes after Met commissioner Cressida Dick was handed a dossier of allegations of online abuse following an interview on LBC Radio.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "On Tuesday September 4, the Met commissioner was handed a folder of paperwork following a radio interview with LBC Radio in Leicester Square.

"The complainant alleged that the documentation included evidence of antisemitic hate crimes. The contents have been examined by specialist officers.

"A criminal investigation has commenced into some of the allegations within the documentation. Early investigative advice is being sought from the Crown Prosecution Service."