Jews have felt excluded from Labour for too long

This week I was elected to represent party members on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). I was supported by organisations of the Labour left – Momentum amongst others – and also the Jewish Labour Movement. As a left-wing Jew I am honoured to have the support of both of these communities and I will not betray the faith they have put in me.

I know there are concerns in the Jewish community about what these NEC results mean, but I do not think there needs to be.

The six-newly elected members represent a wide diversity of backgrounds and political opinion. We are all committed to a democratic and pluralist Labour Party, where different views are respected.

When it comes to Jewish issues explicitly, as the sole Jewish CLP representative, I intend to take the lead. I am committed to the full implementation of Chakrabati’s recommendations. This must happen immediately. But these are largely legalistic and procedural and do not tackle the political issues. So above that I keen to ensure that our party is an environment which is hospitable to both Jews and Zionists.

The environment of the Labour Party is the most fundamental issue, but also the most difficult to tackle. Since being elected this week, some of those to my right have been aggressive and personally insulting to a level that I hope no one has to experience. There is a huge amount of bad feeling in the party and that comes out in unconstructive forums and language that must be tackled.

I will fight for a Labour Party that prioritises communication and open debate. Too long have Jewish members felt excluded from spaces because of language being used that crosses the line into Anti-Semitism.

The only way to tackle this once and for all is through dialogue. This means forums where members from communities that have not been in a room together before, work together and where all Jewish members – from across the political spectrum – help the Labour Party become a truly open space.

About the Author
Rhea is a member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee
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