CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The Labour peers’ Guardian letter is shoddy

19 July, 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

• IT was a famous Jewish singer, Bob Dylan, who coined the lyric “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”.

That lyric seems quite apt for the minority of Labour peers who have invested £18,000 (current ad rates on The Guardian’s website) on a whole page advert in The Guardian, which claimed that “The Labour Party welcomes everyone… except, it seems, Jews”, accused Jeremy Corbyn of “allowing anti-Semitism to grow in our party”, and said that he had “failed the test of leadership”.

This paid advert is an attempt to subvert the democratically expressed wishes of Labour members who have twice voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy Corbyn to lead the party.

In those leadership elections of 2015 and 2016, thousands of Labour members – overwhelm­ingly Corbyn supporters – many with decades of commitment to the party, and including a significant number of Jews, were told they were definitely unwelcome in the most brutal way when they were summarily suspended and excluded from participating in those elections with little or no explanation.

We know the toll that had on individuals, whose reputations, social networks, and self-esteem were seriously damaged overnight by unfounded allegations or none at all.

Who was overseeing that process? Iain McNicol, the party’s general secretary until February 2018, who is one of the signatories and presumably one of the investors in this shoddy advert.

As a group of Jewish members of Islington North CLP, including those who have been elected to officer positions in our wards and at CLP level, we have never felt at all unwelcome as Jews in the Labour Party, where we are among people who have fought racism and bigotry all their lives.

The worst we have felt is great embarrassment at the reactionary interventions and policy positions put forward by some of the same Labour peers who signed that advert such as Peter Mandelson, John Reid and Michael Levy.

DAVID ROSENBERG
JULIA BARD
MICHAEL ELLMAN
LOUIS KAPLIN
JENNY KASSMAN
MICA NAVA
LYNNE SEGAL
ANNABELLE SREBERNY
RUTH STEIGMAN
ANNETTE THOMAS
GILL YUDKIN
PAM ZINKIN
Jewish members of Islington North CLP

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