I had to quit Labour as the hate seeped into the leadership

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Via Jewish News)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Via Jewish News)

I have been a member of the Labour Party for nearly 8 years – before I could even vote. From the age of 14 I was a loyal comrade – knocking on hundreds upon thousands of doors, campaigning tirelessly for a democratic socialist government. I am committed to the values of the Labour Party which I joined in 2010 – creating a fairer society for all, fighting injustice and standing up to racism and prejudice in all its forms.

However, the news of the election of Peter Willsman to the NEC has finally pushed me to terminate my membership. I remained a member through the endless scandals that studded the summer months, and even after the abuse I suffered and witnessed and the Oxford University Labour Club. But the notion that seventy thousand members could cast a vote for an outright anti-Semite to the NEC has made being a member impossible for me.

For a long time, I fought hard against the accusation that the problem with anti-Semitism within the party was institutional. I was frustrated by the alarmist headlines of Jewish newspapers and community representatives. However, I no longer believe that it is just a ‘fringe’ on the left that have contempt for the Jewish community. The hate has seeped into the leadership, the national executive and is even present among MPs who I really thought had some semblance of integrity.

There has yet to have been any strong action taken by the party. Rather we have seen meagre, dishonest attempts to tackle the problem. Until Corbyn makes a concerted effort to distance himself from his problematic, anti-Semitic following or look within his own leadership to root out anti-Semitism, I believe this problem will persist. Labour’s historic commitment to anti-racism is nothing if it cannot secure a safe space for minorities within its own membership. Whilst I continue to look up to the excellent MPs such as Chuka Umunna, Sadiq Khan and Yvette Cooper, I believe that the party has been dominated by an illiberal, intolerant and hateful group of individuals that I fail to identify with.

I am not one to give up. I will continue to fight injustice, inequality and for the values I hold dear, but the Labour Party can no longer support me in that endeavour. I have been marginalised, alienated, mocked and trolled and quite frankly, sticking around and fighting anti-Semitism shouldn’t be my responsibility. I don’t want to spend my time sharing tweets and posting articles about appalling things said by members of the party. I want the leadership to take a strong stance and make it clear that the Labour Party is a place that I can feel comfortable. Hopefully one day I will be able to make a return to the party I once held very dear.

About the Author
Ella Taylor-Fagan is a recent graduate from the University of Oxford. She is a member of Yachad, The Jewish Labour Movement and is soon to to start her law conversion course.
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