Editorial

Open Labour calls on the NEC to release the Anti-Semitism Working Party Report and undertake a Full Consultation

by: Open Labour National Committee on 09.07.18 | In: Editorial
by: Open Labour National Committee on: 09.07.18 in: Editorial

Open Labour fully agreed with the statement issued on behalf of the Party leadership (December 2016) which reinforced the leader’s commitment to the IHRA definition “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party share the view that language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews is anti-Semitism, and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism.”

We agree with the IHRA ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism as ‘a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’ Labour also supported the inclusion of the definition in the Chakrabarti Review a few months later. Whilst we acknowledge the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism isn’t perfect, we believe its widespread use and existing traction merited its inclusion as a starting point in any definition the NEC, and is something the wider Labour family, can commit to.

Labour undertook to convene a working party to review its definition of anti-Semitism to be used in disciplinary cases, many of which included abuse against Jewish members of the Party that the Labour Party has a duty to protect. The working group didn’t operate transparently, which would have been less unacceptable if it had then published its report openly, and it had been open to scrutiny by the community the working group was seeking to protect. The Labour Party has up to this point utilised the Macpherson definition of a racist incident which is “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” This principle surely should extend to how an organisation’s guidelines on that racism are drawn up.

The last two years have been a period of a loss of trust in the Labour Party and its processes by the Jewish Community. To start the journey towards rebuilding trust, the Party must fully involve the community when devising processes to protect Jewish members and ensure that the Labour Party is free of anti-Semitism. In the spirit of openness, transparency, solidarity and as an anti-racist party the NEC need to revisit its decision on the new anti-Semitism guidelines.“A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.”

Open Labour, therefore, calls upon the NEC to release its working party report and undertake a period of consultation on the paper engaging strongly with the Jewish Community both within and beyond the Labour Party.

Comments

  • Unless we face up to and sort out the problem of antisemitism in our party we will fail to get into government. Our failure to take action means more years of Conservative government failing to deal with poverty & injustice.

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