Jack Mendel
Online Editor at Jewish News

Labour can’t be the judge for its redemption

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

Labour is less concerned with weeding out Jew-hate at the root, as opposed to managing the fallout when the problem rears its ugly head – and the reason is its rotten processes.

Last week, there were numerous instances of local activists being in the frame of running for office with skeletons in their closets.

But it seems, instead of burying, them Labour wants to dress them up, put them on show, and use them as proof, they can be brought back to life.

It started off with Jo Bird, who was suspended after making a joke about “Jew process”.

She put her name forward for Dame Louise Ellman’s Liverpool Riverside seat, who quit the party over claims of antisemitism. While Bird didn’t make the shortlist, the local party’s response said they “really don’t think she’s going to have the most support”, as if that’s a reason to let her run.

Next, Luke Cresswell, who was suspended in 2016 after sharing an image of a blood-soaked Star of David and comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. He was removed from the South Suffolk shortlist after ‘diligence checks’.

The question is, why is he still in the party, let alone getting to the threshold of standing for office?

Then, Colin Monehen was removed from the shortlist in Epping Forest, after defending an antisemitic image of a parasite on the Statue of Liberty with a Star of David on it.

And the latest example was, Aysha Raza, shortlisted for Ealing North, and eventually failing in her bid.

She defended an antisemitic mural in east London, saying sorry “for any hurt my words caused” and undertook antisemitism training with the Jewish Labour Movement.

I am hopefully not the only one who remains unconvinced, that Labour is not the best judge for redemption of itself on this issue – given that the rot came right from the top.

Jeremy Corbyn himself said he didn’t see a problem with the mural.

That’s why the party couldn’t act.

Because it would implicate the dear leader.

It’s clear the party offers levels of redemption on alleged Jew-hate, based on the damage it could cause the party’s reputation.

One candidate is allowed to stand because it seems unlikely they’ll win. One is removed from a shortlist after a background check. One is removed after their error was exposed. And one is allowed to run because they jump through some hoops to show they’ve mended ways.

Being tough on Jew-hate starts at the root, not with the expressions of the problem itself.

Labour’s reluctance to act pre-emptively, and reliance on responding to instances of alleged antisemitism on a case-by-case basis, exposes the party’s ineptitude in handling the issue.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s probe for institutional racism will hopefully put an end to this nonsense, and force Labour to adopt a more independent process for tackling Jew-hate.


About the Author
Jack Mendel is Online Editor at Jewish News UK
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