Jewish group removes campaigning support for Labour in election | Politics

Jewish group removes campaigning support for Labour in election | Politics


The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has withdrawn campaigning support for Labour in the upcoming general election in protest at its handling of antisemitism cases.

As one of the oldest socialist societies affiliated to Labour, the group regularly sent out activists to support candidates across the country before voters went to the polls.

However, for what is believed to be the first time in its 100-year history, it will not organise members to head out to constituencies and instead only support “exceptional candidates”, such as its parliamentary chair, Ruth Smeeth, and other MPs it views as having been supportive.

A statement released by the organisation said: “We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our parliamentary chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the parliamentary Labour party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us. We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour-held seats.”

JLM credits its campaigning work as securing Labour wins in Bury South in 2017 and 2015, Leeds North West in 2017, holding Hampstead and Kilburn in 2015 and winning Hornsey back in 2015 from the Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone.

The organisation, which has 2,500 members, blames the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for allowing a “culture of antisemitism to emerge and fester” within the party.

The JLM’s stand comes after the organisation’s honorary president, Dame Louise Ellman, along with the former parliamentary chair, Luciana Berger, left the party citing antisemitic abuse and bullying.

Its statement added: “When two accomplished and dedicated Jewish Labour MPs no longer see a place for themselves in the Labour party, it’s clear that the party has lost its way.”

It said the effective strike does not mean the group no longer supports Labour’s policies and historic values, or that they want to see Boris Johnson or the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, as prime minister.

“The Jewish Labour Movement has a long and proud history of activism in the Labour party and the wider Labour movement and 2020 marks our 100th anniversary of affiliation to the Labour party,” it said.

“This crisis of antisemitism in the Labour party stems from a failure of leadership from Jeremy Corbyn. When the answer has been to take swift, decisive action, the reality has been equivocation and token gestures.”

At JLM’s annual general meeting in April, its members unanimously adopted a policy that declared Corbyn to be “unfit to be prime minister”. There had been a discussion about disaffiliation but this was voted down in meetings held in London and Manchester.

Labour has said it is taking decisive and robust action against antisemitism and Corbyn has said it has no place in society.


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