Labour Antisemitism: On the Doorstep

How I will respond to concerns about Labour antisemitism expressed on the doorstep. Posted here in case others find it useful.

I joined Labour to get rid of all forms of oppression and injustice, including antisemitism. And it is precisely because I oppose racism, antisemitism, injustice that I am out here campaigning for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn to be our Prime Minister.

When the fascists marched on the Jewish East End of London, Jeremy Corbyn’s mum was one of those who stood against them—not with words, but physically, with their bodies, on the streets.

That legacy inspired Corbyn to campaign against racism—again, not just in words, but on the streets, even when it wasn’t popular, and even when it got him arrestedto campaign against racism his entire adult life.

When South Africa was under apartheid, Corbyn was out there demonstrating against it, campaigning against it, getting arrested, while the Tory Government was calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist.

From Wood Green in 1977 to Golders Green in 2015, whenever there has been a campaign to defend British Jews against the far-right, Corbyn has been there.

And what was Corbyn’s very first act as Labour leader in 2015? To speak at a demonstration in defence of refugees and asylum-seekers.

Again and again, Corbyn has stood with Jewish people and other minorities in this country: not just with words, but where it mattered.

That’s why left-wing Jews like the Jewish Socialists’ Group and Jewish Voice for Labour support him—as well as the Jewish members of his constituency who know him best.

Any antisemitism is a problem, but all these false and exaggerated claims about Labour don’t help.

All the evidence we have shows there is less antisemitism in Labour than on the Right. The media makes out that Labour is full of it, but actually, the proportion of party members accused – not found guilty, but just accused – amounts to less than one-tenth of one percent.

This election is not like any other. The far-right is winning around the world. We are just one economic crisis, one climate shock away from the return of fascism across Europe.

This is the real threat to Jewish people.

In the past and today, our best defence, our only defence, against the far-right, is a strong left, which has a positive and inclusive plan for a fairer society.

If we want to defeat the far-right and to defeat the causes of the far-right, our only hope is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

 

Further Resources:

– Jewish Voice for Labour, Briefing for Canvassers and Rebuttals

– Over 200 Jewish Labour supporters say: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a Crucial Ally in the Fight against Antisemitism

– 34 Orthodox Rabbis reject allegations against ‘respected leader’ Jeremy Corbyn

– Joseph Finlay, Jeremy Corbyn is an Anti-Racist, Not an Anti-Semite

Fifty Times Jeremy Corbyn Stood with Jewish People

– Anna Boyle, 40 Examples of Corbyn Opposing Antisemitism

Image

(By Alan Maddison)

2 comments

  1. […] I joined Labour to get rid of all forms of oppression and injustice, including antisemitism. And it … our Prime Minister. […]

    Like

  2. A.Probert · · Reply

    The Child Poverty Action Group report “All Kids Count”, which is available on the CPAG website, looks at the impact of the Tory Party’s 2-child welfare cap. Orthodox Jews are amongst the BME demographics affected hard. Here are some passages from the report:

    1) “Agudas Israel Community Services runs a centre in Hackney from which it provides advice primarily to Orthodox Jewish people. Since April 2017, it has seen over 200 families who have had a third or subsequent child and who are subject to the two-child limit. Almost all of those affected are working families on low or middle incomes. They are absorbing the additional costs associated with a new child from the family’s existing income. The only help they will get is £13.70 per week in child benefit – well short of the estimated additional cost of raising a third child.

    “The significant additional costs of having another child often come at a time when the family income has taken a hit, particularly if the parents are self-employed or have their own business, and earnings are interrupted by the new birth.

    “According to Ruth Erblich, an advisor at the centre, tax credits have helped families with basic costs such as food and clothing for children. With no extra support and another child in the house, families are having to be more frugal than ever with their expenditure and are less able to provide all their children with such essentials as adequate healthy food. Even working families are having to rely on community charity, with many also finding themselves having to borrow money in order to make ends meet. More families are struggling to cover their ongoing costs and are particularly affected when a larger, unexpected expense arises, for example when a household appliance, such as a fridge, needs replacing.

    “Ms Erblich has highlighted the fact that children cost more to families as they grow older. She believes that the real impact of the two-child limit lies ahead of us, when affected families may have more than one child who is not eligible for support, and the family’s expenses continue to rise as the children grow older.”

    2) “Muslim communities are also disproportionately affected by the two-child limit, due to strong cultural norms and deeply held religious beliefs that favour larger families.”

    3) “Amongst the general population, 31 per cent of children live in households with more than two children. Within some faith communities, the proportion is significantly higher. 60 percent of Muslim children and 52 per cent of Jewish children, are growing up in households with three or more children.”

    __________

    It all amounts to indirect discrimination by the government, and as anybody who has attended Civil Service equality training knows, indirect discrimination is as serious as direct discrimination, especially when its unequal impact could be foreseen.

    There are antisemites and other racists within the Labour Party. They are not influencing Labour Party policy on welfare or race relations.

    The Tories have a long history of legislating against low-income or destitute Jews. The 1905 Aliens Act was passed by the Tories for the explicitly expressed purpose of keeping Jewish refugees from Russia and Eastern Europe out of Britain. The 1905 Act introduced Britain’s first permanent border controls, enabling “undesirables” to be refused entry to Britain at the ports. The huge Tory majority in the House of Commons in the 1930s (MacDonald was Prime Minister until 1935 only by dint of a pre-election coalition agreement) served to turn away the vast majority of German Jews who wanted to come to Britain. Now the Tories have brought in the 2-child welfare cap, which hits Orthodox Jews on lower incomes hard.

    The Tories have legislated against other minority groups too. The 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act (nicknamed the Colour Bar Act) removed the automatic right of the vast majority of non-White Commonwealth citizens to migrate to the UK, whilst preserving the right for most White Commonwealth citizens. Rab Butler, the Home Secretary who was the architect of that Act, was praised by the current Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in his speech to the 2019 Tory Party Conference.

    The Tories’ 2019 General Election manifesto commitment on Travellers is an example of extreme racism in action.

    In letting the Tories off the hook, we are doing Jews on low incomes, and Muslims on low incomes, and Travellers, and many other people, a vile disservice. The human cost will be counted after 12th December 2019.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: