Labour must show its hand if we are to engage in the future

Even as the country has been gripped by the post-Brexit unravelling of the political status quo, the Labour Party’s continuing battle with antisemitism has not escaped notice.

While the community has tried not to be dragged into the leadership battle, the party has an opportunity to restore confidence that decisive action will be taken to draw out the poison of antisemitism. If it shows genuine willingness and conviction, it can rely of the support and encouragement of the Jewish community to do so.

However, as time has moved on, so confidence in the processes the party has instituted has dwindled. On the day the Chakrabarti Inquiry was published, jointly with our colleagues from the Community Security Trust, we issued a statement calling upon the party to rapidly implement the recommendations that had been made. Many were lost in the aftermath of Chakrabarti’s press conference and, since then, questions have begun to be asked about whether there is any real willingness in the Leader’s Office or the NEC to implement the recommendations.

The community took at face value the party’s motivation in asking Baroness Royall to investigate serious allegations of antisemitism within the Oxford University Labour Club and beyond. Baroness Royall has been proactive in her attempts to get the report published. Nonetheless, the report remains hidden. The party needs to make the report public in order to begin rebuilding the confidence of the Jewish community and to be seen to be willing to tackle antisemitism.

We do not need platitudes, nor more Inquiries or calls for evidence. We need confidence that words will be followed by meaningful action. Failure to take action will have consequences that leave the party further hamstrung. Decisive action, on the other hand, will be welcomed as a sign that the party remains a friend to the community and, once again, a possible vehicle for its hopes and aspirations.

The first step would be to see the Royall report published in full, by a Party leadership looking to engage with the community. If the Labour Party takes proactive steps I know that we are all happy to engage and ensure we can work together in the future.

About the Author
Simon Johnson is Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.
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