Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the left-wing grassroots group Momentum are to back new measures making it easier to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.
Jewish community figures welcomed Corbyn’s support ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), although the wording of the motion – which is promoted by Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) – was still being fiercely debated only a day before the vote.
The Guardian quoted a Labour source as saying: “Jeremy is committed to tackling anti-Semitism and is hopeful that the NEC will pass this motion.”
Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said Corbyn’s support was “a great move forward,” after a year in which he was criticised for not doing enough to tackle the repeated incidence of anti-Semitism on the left of the party.
Last year Corbyn criticised the radio comments of his ideological ally Ken Livingstone, who said Adolf Hitler was a Zionist “before he went mad,” and has since suggested that London’s former mayor should have been expelled from the party.
A rule-change to make it easier to take action on anti-Semitic comments would be good news to those who hope to restore the Jewish community’s trust in the party, after two years of negative headlines.
“We need a rule change that is fit for purpose,” said JLM co-chair Mike Katz, who was Labour’s candidate in Hendon earlier this year.
“Fix this and we start fixing the relationship between the party and the Jewish community – not just the right thing to do, but it helps us get closer to winning back seats in Jewish areas we narrowly lost out on in June.”