Marie van der Zyl and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has accused the Labour Party of treating the Jewish community with contempt.

The scathing assessment came after three party members suspended on charges of anti-Semitism have been readmitted to the Party.

No further sanctions will be taken against Welsh Assembly member Jenny Rathbone, ex-Scottish Labour MP Jim Sheridan and Scottish Labour Councillor Mary Bain Lockhart.

Rathbone had stated that Jews’ security fears at a Cardiff synagogue may be ‘in their own heads’, Lockhart suggested Jewish newspapers plotted with Mossad to ‘prevent the election of a Labour Government’, while Sheridan said he had ‘lost respect and empathy for the Jewish community over their work with “Blairite plotters”.

Labour has readmitted three individuals from across the UK who had made anti-Semitic and offensive comments about Jews in a matter of weeks,” she noted.

All of these individuals have been readmitted to Labour without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Rather than dealing firmly with anti-Semitism in the Party, the Labour leadership has become an enabler and even propagator of antisemitism.

It has treated the Jewish community with utter contempt, ignoring its fair and necessary demands for justice. The claim that Labour takes ‘complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously’ is clearly now taken from the post-truth playbook.”

Sheridan and Rathbone have since apologised, though the former stressed his accusers had “over-reacted “when his suspension ended last week.

Ms van der Zyl meantime has applauded Labour MPs demanding answers from the Party leadership on its record over anti-Semitism.

Catherine McKinnell proposed a motion, seconded by Ruth Smeeth centring on a backlog of anti-Semitism cases due to be concluded by July 2018.

The motion is set to be debated at a Parliamentary Labour Party and the MPs have warned the party it risks being labelled institutionally anti-Semitic if action is not taken. 

The motion calls for a number of actions including a report on how many anti-Semitism complaints have been received, how many staff are investigating complaints, organisations commissioned to provide antisemitism training, timescale for responding to antisemitism complaints and Jewish community organisations onsulted on the anti-Semtism code of practice.

“We fully support the Labour MPs in calling the leadership to account on their record on tackling antisemitism within the party,” Ms van der Zyl said.

Since the Enough is Enough campaign was launched we have continually pressed for answers on how Labour’s promises to tackle the situation are being put into action.

The Jewish community deserves to see action rather than empty words from Labour.”

By Louis Abrahams