Labour's main Jewish group urges shadow cabinet to end 'institutional racism'

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Labour’s main Jewish group has written to every member of the shadow cabinet urging them to show “real resolve” to end what it claims is institutional racism against Jews in the party.

The Jewish  Labour Movement (JLM) said the Opposition were “sorely in need of real leadership on anti-Semitism”, telling the frontbench: “This is your chance to lead.”

On Monday, the shadow cabinet will hold a special meeting to discuss anti-Semitism, after which Jeremy Corbyn is expected to address the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Labour has been rocked by a Panorama programme which claimed that senior figures, including Mr Corbyn’s communications chief Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had interfered in anti-Semitism investigations.

The party has denied the claims and written a complaint to the BBC.

Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is investigating whether the Labour Party “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.

Mike Katz is chair of the Jewish Labour Movement

 

In its letter to Mr Corbyn’s top team, the JLM said: “Whilst the party trumpets its fourfold increase in the speed of dealing with cases, we can have no confidence in this figure, given the complete opacity of all data around the disciplinary process.

“It is meaningless, and we have no confidence in it, or that party’s other statistics.

“We are confident, however, the EHRC will find that the party is institutionally racist against Jews.

“For, as much as policies and process are important, at its heart this is a question of leadership and culture.

“Whilst we ask why the party cannot efficiently expel racists, the more fundamental question is why they join in the first place.”

It continues: “Why do left conspiratorial anti-Semites and cranks now regard Labour as their natural political home?

“Unless and until this question is resolved, this moral stain on the party and its proud history of fighting discrimination will be indelible.

“Irrespective of the EHRC’s verdict, we are fast approaching a point of no return – for not just JLM, nor the Jewish community, but for the country at large.

“Polling released this week from Hope not Hate shows that 42% of voters say that Labour anti-Semitism is a serious and genuine issue and nearly one in two (49%) say the party should do more to tackle it.

“Harold Wilson said the party is a moral crusade or it is nothing.

“Never more has moral and political leadership been needed, nor found wanting.

“You must show real resolve and step into the breach, now.

“Please don’t be a bystander in this fight for the soul of the party.”

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