Jewish UK Labour leader criticizes party for inaction on anti-Semitism

Jewish UK Labour leader criticizes party for inaction on anti-Semitism

Jeremy Newmark slams ‘vast backlog of cases’ involving alleged Jew hatred by party members

Jeremy Newmark, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement. (YouTube screenshot)
Jeremy Newmark, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement. (YouTube screenshot)

A Jewish Labour group has criticized the UK opposition party for failing to deal with a number of incidents of anti-Semitism, saying that Labour did not appear serious about tackling anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks.

Jeremy Newmark, the head of the Jewish Labour Movement, said the lack of action in dealing with the recent cases raises concerns over whether the party has internalized the findings of a report on anti-Semitism in Labour, The Guardian reported Saturday.

That probe, which was led by Labour Peer Shami Chakrabarti, was criticized by the British Jewish community for downplaying anti-Semitism within the party.

“We remain seriously concerned about what is now a vast backlog of cases involving alleged anti-Semitism that appear to be stuck in the system, in some cases for over a year,” said Newmark, according The Guardian. “That is not a good indicator of the party having embraced Shami Chakrabarti’s imperative to adopt a gold standard in dealing with antisemitism.”

“We will be closely monitoring the outcomes of a number of high-profile cases due to be determined by the national constitutional committee over the weeks ahead. These include former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker and [activist] Marc Wadsworth,” said Newmark.

“Significantly, the second investigation into Ken Livingstone appears to be stuck in limbo which is incredibly worrying given that [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn personally assured me that the former mayor of London would be held to account for the renewed offense that he caused after his previous NCC hearing,” he said. “It is imperative that this is addressed in advance of the forthcoming local elections.”

Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, outside Millbank in Westminster, London, April 28, 2016. (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

Livingstone, a former London mayor, has been accused of anti-Semitism for his comments on Israel, notably that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler helped German Jews move to pre-state Israel “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Labour suspended Livingstone from the party for a year last April, but did not expel him for the remarks.

Newmark’s critcism came as Labour sources told The Guardian’s sister publication the Observer that party members and activists were preparing to take legal steps against Labour for failing to address a number of complaints of anti-Semitism.

British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a meeting of the Party of European Socialists in Brussels, on October 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/John Thys)

According to party documents leaked to the paper, a Labour activist who used the slur “Yids” was not expelled from the party or recommended to its highest disciplinary body, despite holding an internal report saying he held “a deeply prejudiced view of Jewish people’s concerns about anti-Semitism, as well as unacceptable views about terminology that is appropriate to use to describe Jewish people.”

Since becoming Labour leader in 2015, the left-wing Corbyn has been criticized for failing to more forcefully address anti-Semitism in the party.

Corbyn, a longtime Israel critic who has referred to the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups as “friends,” has denied his party has an anti-Semitism problem.

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