Labour Party Counters Antisemitism

Earlier this week the leadership of the Labour Party won a crucial vote on adopting a new independent complaints process to tackle its problem with antisemitism.

More than 73 per cent of delegates at the annual conference in Brighton voted in favour of the change, which is in line with recommendations from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which had issued a highly critical report on antisemitism within the Party.

This change represents a victory for the party leadership, which faces resistance from Labour’s hard left over the issue. It removes any political interference in the complaints process and should be implemented by January 2022. 

Following the vote, Sir Keir Starmer said:

“This is a decisive and important day in the history of the Labour party. 
I promised to tackle antisemitism in our party. 
We’ve now closed the door on a shameful chapter in our history. 
I want to acknowledge the courage of all the people who spoke up against it.”

Keir Starmer speaking in Bristol in 2020Keir Starmer in Bristol, February 2020 (photo by Rwendland via Wikipedia, cropped)

Following the vote, former Labour MP Louise Ellman decided to re-join the Labour Party, saying she was confident that it is once again led by a man of principle who could be trusted by the British people and Britain`s Jews.

She added that,

“Whilst there remains a great deal more to do to tackle antisemitism in the party,
I am encouraged by the steps already taken and the progress made so far.
Sir Keir has shown a willingness to confront both the anti-Jewish racists and
the toxic culture which allowed antisemitism to flourish.”

Sky News political correspondent Kate McCann described the move as ‘the beginning of an emotional healing process which for many has been a long time coming.’

But she went on to note that it isn’t the end of the story because a separate conference motion passed on Monday was viewed by many as anti-Israeli.

That brought another comment from Dame Louise that Labour cannot win back the trust of the Jewish community “whilst the Jewish state is continually demonised and smeared.”

The motion passed on Monday was noted by the Israeli press as the UK Labour Party defining Israel as an apartheid state. The related claim of ‘victory’ by the BDS movement drew particular attention.

The Labour Party is likely to be viewed with extreme caution by the Israelis for years to come.