LFI to skip party conference over antisemitism concerns

Jewish affiliate: Party leadership has demonstrated ‘complete failure’

September 19, 2019 23:15
2 minute read.
LFI to skip party conference over antisemitism concerns

Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool in 2018. (photo credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has decided it will not have a booth at this year’s UK Labour Party conference because of safety and antisemitism concerns.

The five-day conference is set to kick off this weekend in Brighton.

“The ongoing abuse of Jewish party members – highlighted by July’s [BBC] Panorama program – and the failure of Jeremy Corbyn to do anything to deter his supporters from engaging in it, means that we have
decided it would not be appropriate for us to have a stand at [the] Labour Party conference this year,” LFI said in a statement. “Our staff have faced incidents of antisemitism in previous years, and given
that the situation appears to have further deteriorated, we do not feel it is responsible as an employer to put them in this environment.”

The BBC Panorama exposé revealed that the Labour leader’s senior team interfered multiple times in disciplinary cases pertaining to antisemitism in the party.

The decision by LFI comes in the midst of an outcry by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) after the JLM learned through press reports that the party plans to debate the party’s disciplinary rules pertaining to
antisemitism on Shabbat. The JLM said neither their group nor any other Jewish communal organization was consulted.

“Time and again, the party leadership and the NEC [National Executive Committee] have demonstrated a complete failure in both judgment and commitment to tackle antisemitism,” the JLM said in a statement
posted on Twitter, adding that a statutory investigation by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is under way, and that they have “zero confidence” that the NEC would solve anything.

“There have been countless examples of NEC members either engaging in antisemitism or turning a blind eye to it,” the JLM said. “It will simply streamline the process of letting antisemites off the hook.”

The JLM’s national chairman, Mike Katz, tweeted a picture of the statement, adding: “As we have to keep on saying, this problem is institutional and it’s not going away.”

The Labour Party has struggled with antisemitism for years, following Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment as leader in 2015.

Corbyn and UK Labour have faced accusations of antisemitism committed by members, while others have charged that the leader has allowed this phenomenon to spread across the party without real consequences.

Corbyn also caused major controversy after refusing to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in Labour’s new code of conduct.

In July, three UK Labour members quit the party due to “institutionalized antisemitism,” while in February, seven Labour MPs resigned to protest the way Corbyn has dealt with Brexit and antisemitism.

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