The Jewish Chronicle

Open letter from leading writers


A GROUP of prominent Jewish writers and public figures have written to Labour to express their “bewilderme­nt and disgust” with the party’s handling of the antisemiti­sm crisis.

Sir Simon Schama, Howard Jacobson, Tracy Ann Oberman, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Rabbi Julia Neuberger and Neil Blair all put their names to the letter, which argues that antisemiti­sm has been “protracted, sanctioned and propagated by the leadership faction”.

It goes on to say that the pending investigat­ion by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) shames Labour in a similar way to the British National Party (BNP), which was investigat­ed in 2010.

It reads: “The very fact that Labour is, like the BNP before it, being statutoril­y investigat­ed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for racism is not a matter of housekeepi­ng but a taint of internatio­nal, historic shame.

“It is clear this is not just about Jeremy Corbyn, but the pernicious world view of a faction that has — temporaril­y we hope — taken control of Labour.

“Trust between Corbyn’s Labour and most

Jews in Britain appears to be fractured beyond repair.”

The letter, seen by the Observer and the Sunday Times, calls on the party to establish an independen­t complaints body to investigat­e antisemiti­sm — which it terms a “pool of poison in the party’s soul”. The letter condemns Labour’s response to the whistleblo­wers’ allegation­s in BBC’s Panorama.

It says: “Damage limitation should not be the first priority for Labour. The Labour leadership remains determined to go on piously protesting its innocence, rejecting the message and blaming the messenger.

“Whistleblo­wers would be heroes to any other Labour Party; to this Labour Party they are traitors.

“Regrettabl­e double standards are therefore operating, where Labour is keen to support whistleblo­wers elsewhere but not in its own house.”

Trust between Labour and most Jews appears to be fractured’

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