Statement from Jewish Voice for Labour:
We are Jews in the Labour Party currently actively campaigning for Labour in local elections. We are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies. They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the Party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness. Jeremy’s consistent commitment to anti-racism is all the more needed now.
As the British people call time on May and the Tories, they are getting more desperate. There is massively more antisemitism on the right of politics than on the left. Any organisation claiming to represent Jews in the Labour Party should be holding up for criticism, the senior ex adviser to the Prime Minister who recently used a national newspaper to dredge up antisemitic conspiracy theories, and the local Conservative party which issued a dogwhistle leaflet aiming to mobilise racism in their local election campaign. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council have been silent on both. They have nothing to say either on the global rise of the far right and the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric of the tabloid press. Jewish history surely gives us an imperative to speak out against both racism and fascism.
The BoD and the JLC and those supporting them must be aware that this is an attempt to influence local elections and has nothing to do with the real and necessary task of challenging racism and antisemitism at all levels of political life. We call on them to stop playing party politics and start representing what our community needs. We believe that is best represented by the politics we fight for and hope to see win on May 3rd.
Letter to Guardian 27th March 2018
We are seriously concerned at the rise of antisemitism, especially under extreme rightwing governments in central and eastern Europe, in the US under Donald Trump’s presidency and here in Britain under Theresa May’s premiership. The recent extensive survey by the highly respected Jewish Policy Research confirmed that the main repository of antisemitic views in Britain is among supporters of the Conservative party and Ukip.
This political context, alongside declining support for the Tories, reveals the malicious intent behind the latest flimsy accusations of antisemitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. These accusations have come from the unrepresentative Board of Deputies and the unelected, self-proclaimed “Jewish Leadership Council”, two bodies dominated by supporters of the Tory party.
Between now and the local elections the Tories would love to divert the electorate on to accusations of antisemitism against Labour rather than have us discuss austerity, cuts to local authority budgets, the health service, and social care. Many Jews within and beyond the Labour party are suffering from these policies along with the rest of the population, and oppose them vehemently.
We have worked alongside Corbyn in campaigns against racism and bigotry, including antisemitism, for many years, and we have faith that a Labour government led by Corbyn and Labour-led councils across the country, will be best placed to implement serious measures against all forms of racism and discrimination.
David Rosenberg and Julia Bard
Jewish Socialists’ Group