Jeremy Corbyn has expressed readiness to discuss the specific issues raised by Jewish community leaders in a meeting with the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.
In a letter which could pave the way for the first face-to-face talks between the community and the Leader of the Opposition for two years, Corbyn tonight wrote that he accepted his “responsibility to give a strong and continuing personal lead” in the fight against anti-Semitism in Labour which had caused “anguish and distress”.
Expressing his belief that a meeting would be the start of “a fruitful ongoing exchange on eradicating” hateful discourse in the party, he said: “It is my belief that such a meeting could easily be held without any preconditions, given that we are all on the same side on the essentials of the matter..I place no limitations on the points you would wish to raise and am happy for the agenda to cover the issues you’ve already outlined.”
Among the steps asked for by the Board and JLC in their last letter to the Labour leader was that outstanding and future disciplinary cases be completed “under a fixed timetable” and that elected officials should not share platforms with suspended members – or face suspension themselves. Community leaders also called for the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to be widely distributed.
Corbyn, in his response tonight, added: “I recognise the full legitimacy of raising concerns about anti-Semitism whether that is done by MPs or ordinary party members. I remain resolutely opposed to the abuse of MPs or anyone else.” He also requested that Jennie Formby joined any meeting after she took over the role of general secretary today. Corbyn told Jewish News last week that her first priority would be the full implementation of the Chakrabarti report.
In her first message to members today, she wrote she would be introducing “new procedures” to deal with complaints and disciplinary cases. “The stain of anti-Semitic attitudes must be completelty eradicated within the Labour Party – we are the party for people of all races and faiths, the party of full equality for all, or we are nothing.”
— The JLC (@JLC_uk) April 3, 2018