Head of Britain’s Jewish students union quits Labour over antisemitism

“My position as the President of the Union of Jewish Students means I cannot, in good faith, continue as a member of a political party which has deliberately...allowed antisemitism to emerge."

By JTA
September 15, 2018 04:45
1 minute read.
Building at Cambridge University in England.

Building at Cambridge University in England.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The president of the Union of Jewish Students announced her resignation from the British Labour Party, citing the party’s “complete inability and lack of political will to tackle antisemitism.”

“My position as the President of the Union of Jewish Students means I cannot, in good faith, continue as a member of a political party which has deliberately and recklessly allowed antisemitism to emerge, and even more concerningly, flourish,” Hannah Rose wrote in a letter sent to the general secretary of the Labour Party, Jennie Formby, on Wednesday.

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“I commend the efforts of many Jewish students who stay and fight for the party I still wish I could call my political home. However, both in my personal and professional capacity, I cannot give support or succor to a party which its own MPs consider to be institutionally racist,” she wrote in the letter, which was published in the Huffington Post UK.

“I did not join the Labour Party to watch racism against Jews make headlines every single day.”

Rose, who was elected over the summer, said the causes the union would champion during her presidency are aiding the plight of refugees in Europe and tackling the mental health crisis in youth. Causes, she wrote, “that are meant to also drive the Labour Party, but instead it seems more concerned with a battle between internal factions, rather than fighting for the very values it was founded on.”

“The Jewish community stands united in opposition to antisemitism. It does not stand in opposition to one political leader, or one political party,” she said. “Like so many others in my community, I do not leave the Labour Party because my politics or values have changed, rather because the Party has made clear through its actions that I am not welcome. Words mean nothing when the actions of so many speak louder.”

The union represents 8,500 Jewish students in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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