Statement on Richard Burgon

A statement from JLM Chair, Mike Katz, on Richard Burgon's completely unacceptable comments unearthed today.

"The vast majority of British Jews identify as Zionists- irrespective of their views on Israel's current government and policies. Insulting a core part of their identity, and then dissembling about it, is shameful behaviour from a senior frontbencher for our Party, let alone someone who aspires to administer our justice system.

You can't play at being Lord Chancellor-in-waiting whilst making dog-whistle attacks on British Jews and their right, through Zionism, for national self-determination.

We have written to Mr Burgon and the Chief Whip, asking for swift clarification and an apology, on behalf of our members."

To read our letter to Richard Burgon click here

To read our letter to the Chief Whip, Nick Brown, click here.

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Statement on Antisemitism Training

A statement following reports that the Labour Party have commissioned Birkbeck University to replace JLM as the provider of its antisemitism awareness training:

"Over the last few weeks, JLM has been contacted by hundreds of people asking us to run our antisemitism awareness training at CLPs, branches, Labour groups.

This reflects the fact that we have for a number of years provided this training to the Party for free, sending volunteers to speak at meetings across the country, paid from the subs we raise from our members, often to hostile audiences. This training was commissioned by the Labour Party in 2016, and had the support and involvement of Jewish communal organisations. 

We have made this training available to the Labour Party NEC, NCC, and staff which has not been taken up. Since the Party sought to redefine the IHRA definition of antisemitism last summer, and with no consultation having taken place on the Party’s still active antisemitism code of conduct, we have made it clear to the Party leadership that we cannot support attempts to commission new awareness training from their own preferred providers.

In 2018, we were asked if JLM would provide antisemitism awareness training to those subject to disciplinary proceedings. We made clear at the time that we did not believe training was an appropriate sanction in the Party's disciplinary process. 

In the past, the Party has said that they wish to deliver a “gold standard” antisemitism training programme. We cannot accept the suggestion that the Party knows better than its Jewish affiliate, or the Jewish community what constitutes antisemitism. Particularly when in recent days press reports have demonstrated the Party has failed time and again to identify clear cases of antisemitism, with senior members of the Leader of the Opposition's Office directly intervening in disciplinary cases.

Whilst the Equalities and Human Rights Commission explore our referral of the Labour Party for institutional racism, we cannot in good faith continue to provide our training whilst the Party seek to undermine our role in this way.

We will shortly be writing to all CLPs and organisations where training is currently scheduled to suspend our involvement.

The Party leadership have a choice. They can either address the concerns of its Jewish affiliate and those of the Jewish community. Alternatively, they can continue to act in a reckless and damaging way."

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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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