A Labour Party leaflet aimed at tackling anti-Semitism has been criticised by communal bodies.
The five-page ‘No Place For Anti-Semitism’ document produced by Labour officials was anticipated being sent to party members but the Jewish Labour Movement and Jewish Leadership Council refused to back the initiative.
The leaflet, which provides party members and supporters with tools to understand anti-Semitism, states that anti-Semitism and hatred towards Jewish people has no place in society.
Included is a short history of anti-Semitism and an acknowledgment the party must face the “unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold anti-Semitic views” while a “much larger number don’t recognise anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories”.
The leaflet explains Labour exists to promote social liberation of all people which is why it is launching a programme to educate members and empower them to confront oppression wherever it arises.
The first document centres on anti-Semitism.
Labour general secretary Jennie Formby contacted the JLM and the JLC for input the leaflet. But both organisations refused to be a part of the publication.
“We do not support this booklet in any way as it was not produced in partnership or consultation with the mainstream Jewish community or any expert in anti-Semitism,” explained Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.
“We have consistently called on the Labour party to work with the community to implement training on anti-Semitism. This booklet shows that they have declined to do so.”
JLM chairman Mike Katz told Formby by email that the party had gone past the point where there was sufficient trust to give counsel.
“You’ll have to make a judgement on whether the content is up to scratch yourselves,” he noted.
Mr Katz added that the request for input came despite the NEC making it clear JLM did not have a role in providing training to the party, rejecting an earlier offer to train the NEC, NCC and party staff and by seeking alternative providers without consultation.
Meantime, Sky News reported earlier this week that NEC member Darren Williams told party activists Labour had dealt with “completely unacceptable” anti-Jewish abuse “in a serious and consistent fashion” in an online presentation.
Williams also blasted Labour deputy leader Tom Watson for “undermining” the party’s battle with anti-Semitism in a bid to attack leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He was critical of Watson’s suggestion that MPs with knowledge of anti-Semitism cases advise him so he could take them up and act an advocate.
JLM chair Mike Katz told Sky News that another member of Labour’s ruling NEC body was treating racism as a “factional plaything”.
He added, “These comments underline why JLM was right to refer the party to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jews.”
The latest concerns over Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism come as the lawyer charged with handling the issue resigned from the task.
Gordon Nardell QC was appointed the party’s executive director of legal affairs in 2018 with a key task to advise Labour on its approach to handling anti-Semitism cases.
Lawyers Twenty Essex confirmed Nardell’s departure in a statement last Friday following speculation.
A JLM spokesperson said Nardell’s tenure as General Consel was remarkable “only for the absolute chaos and political manipulation within the Governance and Legal Unit that took place on his watch. “
JLM was not surprised to hear of the resignation.
“The leadership must be held accountable for the culture of harassment, intimidation and causal racism that has gripped the party and follow Nardell’s example,” JLM added.
By Adam Moses