Jewish Labour Movement refuses to endorse Corbyn as PM

The Labour leader denies the party has become a ‘refuge’ for anti-Semtism under his leadership.

Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail in Peterborough
Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail in Peterborough

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has refused to endorse Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister amid renewed claims the party has failed to tackle anti-Semitism in its ranks.

With just a week to polling day, Mr Corbyn denied the party had become a “welcoming refuge” for anti-Semites under his leadership.

It followed the disclosure that 70 present and former Labour staffers gave sworn testimony for the JLM’s submission to the official inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The 53-page dossier concluded the party is “no longer a safe space for Jewish people”, with a “relentless flow” of anti-Semitic incidents.

At a Westminster news conference, JLM national secretary Peter Mason said individual members would have to make their own decisions as to whether they would vote Labour on December 12.

“That will be for every individual member of the Jewish Labour Movement and for the Labour Party and for the public to reach their own conclusion,” he said.

“The document is now out there. It contains the allegations we have made of the Labour Party. People will reach their own conclusions.”

Mr Mason said the JLM had already passed a motion saying it had no faith in Mr Corbyn as prime minister.

Asked which way he would vote, he said: “I don’t know what I am going to do.”

The party’s former head of disputes Sam Matthews – one of the 70 whistleblowers – said those still working for the party were now in fear of “retribution” from their employer.

“Inside the party, those individuals are met with a chorus of public denial that they know to simply be untrue,” he told the news conference.

“Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and bullying, bullying those who fight anti-Semitism, are now commonplace.”

In a statement the JLM said the submission revealed many complaints of anti-Semitism had not been dealt with, multiple examples of interference in investigations by the leader’s office, and “double standards” with tougher and swifter penalties for other forms of discrimination.

The submission concluded: “Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, he has made the party a welcoming refuge for anti-Semites.

“He has done that in a number of ways including by publicly supporting anti-Semites and anti-Semitic tropes.

“The Labour Party is cast in his image.”

Asked about the claims during an election campaign visit to Peterborough, the Labour leader said: “I completely reject that.”

He said: “When I became leader of the party there were no processes in place to deal with anti-Semitism.

“We introduced an appeals procedure to deal with it and we introduced an education process, so that party members understood the hurt that can be caused by anti-Semitic remarks or anti-Semitic behaviour.

“I think we’ve got processes in place that have improved it a great deal.”

The EHRC announced in May that it was launching a formal investigation into the party after receiving a number of complaints relating to allegations of anti-Semitism.

Its remit is to determine whether unlawful acts have been committed by the party or its employees, and whether Labour responded to complaints in a “lawful, efficient and effective manner”.

It followed persistent complaints by Jewish groups that anti-Semitism had been allowed to flourish within the Labour ranks since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.

The leadership subsequently acknowledged that it was too slow to respond to the concerns, but insisted that new measures have been put in place to deal with complaints more effectively.

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