After Livingstone verdict, we must stay and fight

The Labour Party was built to fight racism, fascism and discrimination wherever it exists in society.

Yesterday, my Party, the party of Manny Shinwell, of Ian Mikardo, and of Alf Dubs failed in their founding principle.

The Labour Party fell short of John McDonnell’s call of zero-tolerance for anti-Semitism, and instead has reaffirmed Momentum Chair Jon Lansman’s statement that the left has a “blindspot on anti-Semitism”.

Let’s be clear.

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London who did so much to transform our capital, has brought the Labour Party into disrepute.

We know this because he has said so himself.

He was found guilty on all three charges of bringing the Party into disrepute.

The devastating blow for the Jewish community, and Holocaust survivors, who were caused so much pain and anguish by Mr Livingstone is in the sentencing.

A two year suspension from holding office (with one year already factored in) is a betrayal of our principles.

Mr Livingstone is still a member of our Party, still able to attend meetings and vote, and to influence the future of our policies.

This sends out the message that there is a revolving door, whereby people can revise the history of the Shoah, sit quietly for a year and then return to active politics as if nothing has happened.

Today, we’ve seen wall to wall consensus from within the Jewish community and from all sections of the Labour Party.

From Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, to Chief Rabbi Mirvis. From Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Manchester Metro Mayoral Candidate Andy Burnham and all the sections of the Jewish community.

JLM has published a letter from over 100 Labour MPs and 50 Labour Peers condemning this decision.

We have called for the NEC to consider a new disciplinary process based upon Ken’s subsequent remarks and triumphalism after the verdict.

These calls have been widely backed by party leaders including Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti.

If this is not delivered we have pledged to take the matter all the way to an open debate at Party Conference in September.

I have asked Jewish Labour members to heed the lesson of Cable Street: in the face of adversity you stay, you stand, you fight.

The Jewish Labour Movement will continue to battle to ensure that the Labour Party remains true to our founding principles, not just welcoming Jews, but celebrating our faith, history and heritage.

Join JLM, stand with us against anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred, in the Labour Party, and in wider society.

After all, that’s what the Labour Party was built to do.

About the Author
Cllr Jeremy Newmark is Leader of the Labour Group and Principal Opposition Leader at Hertsmere Borough Council. He is also an elected member of the European Jewish Parliament and the General Council of the World Zionist Organisation
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