Jeremy Corbyn is to host a roundtable discussion on relations between Labour and the Jewish community – but has risked a fresh row by inviting representatives of Jewish Voice for Labour.
A invitation was sent by the leader’s office today for an event next Wednesday, just 24 hours after talks are scheduled between Corbyn and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council. Invitees are urged to “contribute to a fruitful and constructive discussion on moving forward”.
The two main leadership bodies are understood to be among the mainstream organisations invited to the ‘Respect and Engagement’ event, but the move risks backfiring because of the invite to JVL, which has long argued that claims of antisemitism in Labour are exaggerated and staged a counter demo to the Enough is Enough rally three weeks ago.
Corbyn described JVL as “good people” in his recent interview with the Jewish News.
One communal source said: “Inviting JVL raises questions over how serious he is about wanting to properly tackle this issue.”
Another source added: “It looks like he wants to portray the community as divided. We shouldn’t be surprised any more but this smacks of strategising. Many might wonder if he’s preparing for the meeting the day before to fail.”
After the Enough is Enough demo was called last month, Corbyn apologies for the hurt caused by antisemitism in the party, acknowledged some cases had not been dealt with swiftly enough and listed some modern-dat examples of antisemitism.