Cor­byn urged to pro­tect Labour MPs in an­tisemitism protest

The Observer - - News - Michael Sav­age Pol­icy Edi­tor

Bri­tain’s two largest Jewish groups are call­ing on Jeremy Cor­byn to pro­tect MPs who at­tended a protest against an­tisemitism in his party, be­fore their meet­ing with the Labour leader later this month.

Some of the Labour MPs who at­tended the demon­stra­tion three weeks ago faced a back­lash from the left of the party. One MP faced a lo­cal mo­tion of con­dem­na­tion, al­though it was even­tu­ally de­feated.

Writ­ing in the Ob­server, Jonathan Gold­stein, chair of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, and Jonathan Arkush, pres­i­dent of the Board of Deputies of Bri­tish Jews, said that the Labour MPs who at­tended the protest needed the leader’s sup­port as part of the fight against an­tisemitism.

“Coura­geous Labour MPs spoke with great pain, hon­esty and in­tegrity about the prob­lem,” they write. “We knew, as did most of the crowd, the huge risk that these MPs were tak­ing for be­ing there. It is these MPs and many other coun­cil­lors and mem­bers who are now the most vi­tal op­po­nents of an­tisemitism.

“In­evitably, the MPs are fac­ing a per­verse back­lash for op­pos­ing an­tisemitism and for car­ing about their party. Cor­byn’s lead­er­ship in de­fence of them will now be a cru­cial com­po­nent of his promised com­mit­ment to com­bat­ing an­tisemitism.”

The two groups said they acted af­ter a se­ries of al­le­ga­tions of an­tisemitism by Labour mem­bers. The party is fac­ing a back­log of dis­ci­plinary cases. The groups have agreed to a meet­ing with Cor­byn on 24 April and said they would use it to ask him to deal with “is­sues of lead­er­ship, of ed­u­ca­tion, en­sur­ing an ef­fec­tive, trans­par­ent and just dis­ci­plinary process and tack­ling a cul­ture of ‘vic­tim-blam­ing’”.

A Labour spokes­woman said: “There is ab­so­lutely no place in our party or our move­ment for an­tisemitism. Jeremy has asked Jen­nie Formby, Labour’s new gen­eral sec­re­tary, to make root­ing out an­tisemitism her num­ber one pri­or­ity. Jeremy be­lieves peo­ple have the right to speak out and … to demon­strate. He will not tol­er­ate abuse of peo­ple for their be­liefs.”

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