Jews should vote Labour EVEN if they think it’s an antisemitic party

Around 1,500 were estimated to have turned up to say no to antisemitism in Westminster at the Enough is Enough demonstration against antisemitism in March 2019 (Jewish News)
Around 1,500 were estimated to have turned up to say no to antisemitism in Westminster at the Enough is Enough demonstration against antisemitism in March 2019 (Jewish News)

Avi Grant makes the extraordinary contention that an anti-Jewish Labour Party with a leader who turns a blind eye to antisemitism is STILL a better choice than the Conservatives.

Antisemitism is an affliction, a disease, a cancer. We must first acknowledge it, if we are to fight and remove it.

We know that the current approach of the party has been ineffective and hence a new method must be tried. So with the accusations of being a ‘self-hating Jew’, ‘hating my own people’ and even myself being an antisemite all rolling in I will try to convince you that, even if you believe that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic and the Labour Party is antisemitic, you should still vote Labour.

Labour as the anti-racist party is an idea that to many Jews is one that no longer rings true. The party that has always been the political home to all minorities including Jews has been plagued with a scourge of antisemitism. We must first acknowledge that there is a problem in order to fight it .

The response of the party has been admittedly poor, though it vital to acknowledge the actions that have been taken including, the introduction of automatic expulsion powers for anti-Semites, the education on anti-Semitism to party members and anti-Semitism being made a disciplinary issue in 2017 (something not done by any previous leader).

We must still concede though, that the party has not lived up to its values of anti-racism and anti-fascism. Labour should always act as an example on how to deal with racism and sadly this has not been true so far.

As John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, put it, “We’re going to learn more lessons and we want to be the shining example of anti- racism that the Labour party should be”.

This is the position that rings true. You can both walk and chew gum at the same time one can both acknowledge the flaws of the party’s reaction and that the true representation of the party is one that fights prejudice against Jews.

There are those who believe that Labour are too far gone and there is no hope of recovery and to those people I simply make an argument of pragmatism. At the end of the day, this Thursday there will either be a Conservative Prime Minister or a Labour one. No amount of wishing the alternative will make it happen. Jo Swinson, Nigel Farage or the Monster Raving Loony Party will not win the election which means that, like it or not, we have a binary choice between Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister.

One can choose to waste their vote on a candidate who simply will not be able to make their policies a reality or vote for a pressure group, single issue party like the greens or the Brexit Party, but to refer to the definition of the word politics,’ the activities associated with the governance of a country’, no one other than the two main parties will be involved in the governance of a country. Given the choice between Labour and Conservative, simply cannot vote Tory.

The Conservative Party’s austerity cuts during its nine years in power and have presided over horrific and brutal cuts to social services and attacking the most vulnerable people in society. This was summed up in the macabre image of a four-year-old with suspected pneumonia, sleeping on the floor of an understaffed, underfunded Leeds hospital due to lack of beds. This is the true contempt for the most vulnerable people in our society that lies at the heart of the tory message . This clear contempt showed itself once more when Conservative candidate for Broxtow suggested that people who use foodbanks should just get a payday loan.

They have overseen millions more using foodbanks, four million more children in poverty since 2010 and most shockingly 120,000 excess deaths ‘linked’ to cuts in social and healthcare spending, according to the British Medical Journal. The IFS said that austerity is ‘baked in’ to Tory plans for the future meaning ‘more of the same’. We cannot afford more of the same and neither can the children using food banks, or the mother living on the street. But perhaps most importantly we cannot afford as a society to perpetuate this moral stain on our country.

Austerity is by no means the end of the issues for the Conservatives .To reiterate, this election is a binary choice and many people do acknowledge this however, it must be shouted from the rooftops that a vote for the conservatives is not a vote against racism it is one for it.

No party that flirts with the far right and racists can be considered a haven for Jews. In fact three Conservative candidates were accused of anti-Semitism just this week, along with cabinet ministers retweeting the AFD and MPs engaging in the antisemitic ‘Cultural Marxism’ conspiracy theory.

To be clear, though, this is not simply about playing political football with antisemitism it is acknowledging that all parties are sadly diseased by it albeit to differing degrees. For me it comes down to who do you trust more to deal with anti-Semitism, the committed anti-racist party and political home of Jews for almost all it history or a party that will use anti-Semitism for votes while refusing to solve its own problems of islamophobia.

The size of the problem Is also relevant as according to YouGov 42% of Conservative members would not accept a Muslim Prime Minister and 40% want a reduction in the number of Muslims entering Britain, this is a much larger proportion than the small minority of antisemites in the Labour Party. We must stand against all racism to truly be considered anti-racists.

Finally, the choice this election is a choice between two imperfect candidates, to choose Labour is to choose a party that will stand against racism and care for those in suffering. You simply cannot afford to vote Conservative in this election especially if you believe in fighting racism. The Tories believe ‘Britain deserves better’ they’re right. On Thursday, vote Labour. Fight racism and truly create a society for the many, not the few (and for the Jew).

About the Author
Avi Grant is a student and passionate spurs fan. He co-hosts the ‘Sol Campbell's a... An Arsenal vs Spurs Podcast.'
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