JLM North West - Tackling Antisemitism and Islamophobia

The Jewish Labour Movement North West held an educational event in Manchester last Sunday on Tackling Antisemitism and Islamophobia

65 attendees, made up of Labour Party members from constituencies across the North West, were addressed by Jewish Labour Party MP and JLM Parliamentary Chair Luciana Berger, who spoke about antisemitism across the political spectrum. Berger was joined by her Labour Party colleagues, Manchester MPs Lucy Powell, Kate Green and Mike Kane. The panel spoke about their support for the Jewish community in fighting antisemitism and the need for communities to support each other.

JLM NW Education Officer Richard Gold delivered a training session on antisemitism. This was followed by a discussion of Islamophobia, led by NW Labour Party Fundraising and Events Officer Fatima Mahmood.

“It’s important for communities to come together to support each other against all forms of discrimination, both in politics and in wider society. The JLM is committed to educating Constituency Labour Parties about antisemitism,” said Richard Gold.

The evening was rounded off with a performance by JLM member, actor Marlon Solomon, whose one-man show, Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale, has won critical acclaim.

The event was sponsored by Community Union, the modern trade union for a changing world. Community is an affiliated trade union to the Labour Party.

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Labour's NEC candidates on IHRA

Last Friday, JLM, Labour’s Jewish affiliate since 1920, asked every candidate for the NEC their views on the IHRA definition of antisemitism. We do not endorse any slate and our measures against Pete Willsman were due to the extraordinary nature of his attack on British Jewry. Allowing Jews to define their own prejudice is a matter of principle. We advocate a vote for any candidate who takes this principled anti-racist stand and supports Labour immediately adopting the full and unamended IHRA definition of antisemitism in full, including all the examples.

Please see below for the candidates’ responses, or lack of (in alphabetical order)…





















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Press Release: 17th July 2018

The Labour Party, the leadership, most members of the National Executive Committee have all accepted that antisemitism is a specific problem within the Labour Party. And yet, the Labour Party has acted in a deliberate and reckless manner in choosing to redefine antisemitism

Whilst they have accepted there is an antisemitisim problem, they have chosen to tackle it without any consultation with the Jewish community and their representative bodies. We await to see if any further ‘reviews’ change this.

The Labour Party has acted in a deliberate and offensive reckless manner in believing it understands the needs of a minority community better than the community itself. This is in the face of 68 British Rabbis who crossed religious divides to co-sign a letter, the Chief Rabbi, the Jewish community’s representative organisations, the Parliamentary Labour Party (following the steer of its Jewish colleagues) and international experts.

The MacPherson Report was clear that victims should be respectfully dealt with and communicated with. The Labour Party by acknowledging the problems, acknowledge that there must be victims, but fail to follow the well-established MacPherson principle.

The question over specifics within the new Code of Conduct and the IHRA definition are not theoretical as the Labour Party guidelines want to suggest. They are practical and urgent. People are attacked, physically and verbally in the street due to Israel related antisemitism. Jewish buildings across Europe are targets for bombings due to Israel related antisemitism and the dominant form of antisemitism within the British left is Israel related antisemitism.

Furthermore, for two years running, the Community Security Trust has recorded record levels of hate crime perpetrated against Jews. Historically such spikes only occur during sustained periods of conflict in the Middle East. There has been no specific war in the Middle East over the past two years and it has been suggested that the ever-present media coverage of antisemitism and British Jews, due to the Labour Party’s inability to deal with antisemitism within its ranks, has been an all too important contributor to the sustained period of increased antisemitic incidents.

This is not the same Party that wrote the Equalities Act and has proudly championed minorities. The impact on Jewish Labour activists has been unprecedented and severe.  Rather than working with the Jewish community to solve this issue, the Labour Party have deliberately chosen to ignore those who know best, with no likelihood of this changing. 

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JLM writes to Labour's NEC

Ahead of the Labour Party's NEC on the 17th July, the Jewish Labour Movement have written to the Chair and members of the NEC regarding the papers passed last week at the NEC Organisation Sub-Committee. It can be read here

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JLM letter to Jennie Formby

The Chairs of the Jewish Labour Movement, Luciana Berger MP and Ivor Caplin, have written to Jennie Formby regarding yesterday's NEC meeting and the papers presented there. Please click here to read it. 

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Ivor Caplin's Speech for JLM National Movement Chair

I love my country

I love my religion

I love my party

Three important reasons for me to be standing before you tonight and accepting the nomination to become the new Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

Not just an important affiliate to the Labour Party but we are in our 98th unbroken year of affiliation.

It is an honour to become Chair and I can assure you that you will be hearing more from JLM and our activities and I want all our members from South to North to feel part of JLM.

Our Labour Movement was built with the help of Jewish members and supporters.

Every important piece of social legislation over the past 100 years has been driven and supported by Jewish people and driven by our yes our Jewish values.

Furthemore our Trade Unions can trace proud and important parts of their history and foundations to our community.

Our community can also take pride in knowing that our role in the lefts civic history is a proud one.

And this organisation played a pivotal role before World War 2 in building broad based support in the Labour Movement for the establishment of a Jewish State in Israel.

Let us never forget that we achieved that goal with the help of a Labour Government in 1948 and this achievement should not be forgotten.

Since that time our role naturally has changed and indeed evolved.

This is a 120 year old movement initially Poale Zion as it was –now the Jewish Labour Movement as it is today - has a long proud history in taking action when it is called for.

So when I use the phrase “action not words” firstly I mean it and secondly I am following those who went before in running this great organisation.

There has already been progress since nominations closed so let me briefly update you tonight.

I am pleased to confirm that work is underway on the options for a Westminster based office closer to the Commons and to Southside and putting us at the centre of our democracy. More details will be will be confirmed in due course. Meanwhile as I said in my statement to you previously I will be meeting the North West JLM group and the wider community on 22nd and 23rd July in Manchester.

Like many of you I was on Parliament Green when Sajid Javed appeared a few minutes into the speeches. Little did we know that a few days later he would become Home Secretary.

We have continuously said as have the wider community that  these people in London last Sunday with their terrorist loving  flags and yes there open anti Semitism must be removed from the streets of our Capital City.

This could have been prevented by the Home Secretary last week  but he took no action. That decision was a big disappointment.

The Home Secretary has the power and should have used it seven days ago as he was urged to do including by our London Mayor Sadiq.

Now his comments yesterday are welcome but we will be watching to ensure that his comments are followed through with a full ban.

There must be no going back from the Home Secretary on his  statement.

Friends let me say this

There is no place in our Party or our country for anti Semitism. Across our country this is affecting our electoral performance and Labours once fine reputation as a Party of fairness.

There is no hiding place and we must be prepared to call out anti Semitism whenever it occurs.

Far too often we are seeing anti Semitism dressed up by some as “comment on Israel” it is not and it has to stop. Sadly across society we are seeing greater numbers of foul and disgusting behaviour and this is not the Britain we know and value.

All forms of Islamaphobia Sexism Racism Homophobia and Anti Semitism has to stop and the full power of the law should be used on those who transgress.

This is what “Zero Tolerance” actually means.

There is also no place in our Movement for those who deliberately ignore our disciplinary structure. Yes I am looking at you Chris Williamson. I am really disappointed that the Chief Whip has not withdrawn the Whip from him yet.

He continues to blatantly ignore the work of our democratically elected Labour NEC and NCC by openly supporting both Greenstein and Wadsworth as we saw again at the weekend.

Put simply his behaviour is unbecoming to our great Party and its time for the whip to be withdrawn by the Chief Whip. Action not words.

JLM has to be focused on outcomes not processes and ensuring those outcomes are to the benefit of you our members and the wider Party and that this will make us more electable in both local and national Government

To conclude

I am a pragmatic politician and I support the decisions in the main of all the previous Labour Governments

It is only Labour Government’s which have brought about real and lasting social change for the people of Britain.

We should always be proud of our record in Government.

I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Thank you for placing your trust in me

I will not let you down.

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JLM's Annual Report 2017

Following the unanimous adoption of the Annual Report for 2017 at JLM's 2018 AGM last night, please click here to read it!

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JLM letter to the PLP

Today, JLM's Parliamentary Chair and National Secretary have written to the PLP in support of the Jewish community's gathering in Parliament Square tonight. You can read the letter here.

Socialism is about solidarity. You can join JLM as a member or affiliate member here.

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Celebrating 98 years of affiliation to the Labour Party

98 years ago this week, the National Executive Committee of the then new Labour Party voted to accept the Jewish Socialist Labour Party's (Poale Zion, now JLM) formal affiliation to the Labour Party. 

This represented the beginning of a unique relationship between any political party and a Jewish community in the diaspora.

JLM is immensely proud of the contribution we are able to make as a socialist society, and look forward to the next 98 years!


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Jewish Telegraph interview with Jeremy Newmark

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn needs to be held accountable for the party’s problem with antisemitism, according to the chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement.

In an exclusive interview with the Jewish Telegraph, Jeremy Newmark said: “I don’t question his personal commitment to fighting racism and antisemitism as he understands it, but I question whether he understands it the way we do.

“There are very prominent cases which I have discussed with him, and I have no doubt he would remove certain people from the party if he could.”

Mr Newmark has been critical of Labour in recent months.

But, he urged for calm over the recent appointment of Christine Shawcroft, an ally of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, to Labour’s disciplinary panel.

He explained: “One of the problems is that the structure of the party is not straightforward or simple, and people with all sorts of agendas often misunderstand and misreport things.

“The disputes panel is a sub committee of the National Executive Committee, which runs the party.

“The disputes panel is one of the mechanisms for dealing with complaints that reach the NEC.

“Christine Shawcroft has NOT been appointed to the National Constitutional Committee, as has been reported, and will have NO effect on cases such as Ken Livingstone’s.

“It’s the NCC that has the ultimate power to make expulsions and JLM member Peter Mason is a very valued member of that committee.”

Another member of the disputes panel is Yasmine Dar.

She recently appeared alongside anti-Zionist Professor Rodney Shakespeare at a rally to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic revolution.

Prof Shakespeare has been vocal in spreading the conspiracy theory that Zionists were behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

Mr Newmark said: “We wrote to Yasmine Dar to flag our concerns and she has publicly, over the past few days, expressed some form of contrition.

“She said that she came to the meeting at short notice and wasn’t aware who she would be sharing a platform with, but I don’t feel that’s a sufficient excuse.

“Anyone involved in political life should be on alert and partake in due diligence.

“I know that our North West branch of JLM, led by Jane Black, will be meeting with Yasmine to flag some of these issues with her.”

Mr Newmark added that he understands and is sensitive to those Labour supporters who have, or are considering, turning away from the party due to antisemitism.

“We occupy the space left by the activists from the Battle of Cable Street,” he said.

“We are not going to run away and leave this space for antisemites to fill.

“I understand if people have a different attitude, but it remains an important Jewish point to stay and fight antisemitism from within that institution.”

But what about those who say a new political party should be formed?

“I don’t believe the party is too far gone,” he said. “I believe it is retrievable and we have a lot of successes.

“People are being trained in how to deal with antisemitism every day.

“There are times where we have come perilously close to the ‘red line’, but I see fantastic, young Jewish Labour activists being elected into positions within the party around the country.

“There is no short-term fix, this is a long haul fight.

“I look at some of the allies of the Jewish community, which have emerged from the student groups and young Labour, who are standing with us on a daily basis.

“In generational terms, there certainly is a bright future for the party.

“These are people for whom fighting antisemitism is at the core of their politics.”

When the Chakrabarti report came out in 2016, it was meant to be an investigation into Labour’s issues with antisemitism and would detail ways of solving the issue.

But it was labelled a ‘whitewash’ by the majority of British Jews.

The JLM, however, said: “This is a sensible and firm platform which gives the party an opportunity to get off the back foot and on to the front foot in setting a new standard for tacking racism and antisemitism.”

Does Mr Newmark still stand by those comments today?

He said: “The report was a mixed bag. I do believe it provides a platform for significant improvement as the first recommendation sought to outlaw ‘Zionism’ and ‘Zio’ as an epithet of hate.

“But, since then there’s been a General Election, which has delayed an awful lot of process in the party.

“Everything’s a battle, but that doesn’t mean we write it off.”

The party’s connection with Muslim charity MEND has been questioned, as many of those within the organisation have expressed anti-Israel and anti-Zionist views.

Mr Newmark concurred that the party has “made a mistake” by connecting with MEND.

But, he said, it would be “incorrect” to say that Mr Corbyn has “close links” to the group.

He added: “It is worth noting that one of the actions that Corbyn has taken on antisemitism is ensuring the party adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

“That was a piece of leadership he has shown on this and it is an indication of how far we have moved forward.”

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