UK Labour Party branch votes down motion condemning Pittsburgh synagogue attack
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UK Labour Party branch votes down motion condemning Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Local activist ‘aghast’ at rejection of his proposal calling to ‘stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world’

Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

A draft motion condemning the murder of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue was voted down in a branch of Britain’s Labour Party in a small constituency in the country’s north.

Steve Cooke, secretary of the Norton West branch in the Stockton North constituency of about 67,000 people near Scotland, submitted the motion for a vote following the October 27 shooting attack.

When put to a vote, only two members backed the proposal and it was voted down last week, The Independent reported Saturday.

Cooke wrote on Facebook that he was “aghast” that the motion was voted down and that members claimed there was too much focus on “anti-Semitism this, anti-Semitism that.”

I am aghast to report that an emergency motion on the #PittsburghSynagogue attack which I took to my Labour Party branch…

Posted by Steve Cooke on Friday, 2 November 2018

His draft motion said that the murders “demonstrate the dangers posed by the growth in anti-Semitic sentiments and hate speech internationally.” It spoke of a need to “stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world and send our condolences to all those affected by the tragic events in Pittsburgh.”

Critics of the text at the Labour branch had said it should have condemned all racism instead of calling out anti-Semitism specifically, Cooke said.

Labour is facing a criminal investigation initiated last week by police in the London area over alleged anti-Semitic hate speech by members online.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has long maintained that Labour under party leader Jeremy Corbyn — who has called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends and who has said that Zionists who were born in Britain have trouble understanding British irony — has an anti-Semitism problem that the party is not doing enough to address.

Corbyn has vowed to punish anyone from Labour caught making anti-Semitic statements and has called anti-Semitism unacceptable.

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