Yvette Cooper has suggested the fight against anti-Semitism in the party would be boosted by the election of leaders of the Jewish Labour Movement to Parliament.
The claim by the former shadow home secretary comes amid criticism of Jeremy Newmark and Mike Katz, the organisation’s chair and vice-chair, for standing against strong friends of the community and while Jeremy Corbyn remains leader.
Asked by the Jewish News about the reticence of many in the Jewish community to vote for a Labour candidate in the wake of the anti-Semitism scandal, she urged voters to focus on the local picture.
“Mike and Jeremy are both brilliant candidates and are standing up for Labour values fighting injustice, tackling inequality, standing up for our health service,” she said while attending Katz’s campaign launch for Hendon yesterday. “Theresa May wants a landslide and I think that will be really bad for Britain and for this area.”
JLM have led the fight against anti-Semitism in the party over the past year since its reinvigoration and Cooper – who has been tipped as a leadership contender if Labour loses – called for the community to judge the Finchley and Hendon candidates “by what they stands for and what they’re fighting for”. Their voices would be “really important in the parliamentary labour party and within parliament as a whole”, she insisted.
She added: “I’ve spoken out very strongly against anti-Semitism in all forms and anywhere and I’ve argued for the Labour Party to do much more to tackle it. My strong view is that you’ve got to make sure rules are enforced. You’ve got so many people like me at the heart of Labour who believe so strongly in fighting against anti-Semitism and have done so all their lives. I hope people will see that.”
Referring to police cuts, Cooper said: “We know about the work police do with CST and if we lose community policing across the capital then it’ll be deeply damaging to all communities including the Jewish community.”
Katz, launching his campaign, made clear that Brexit would be a centrepiece of his campaign against Matthew Offord, who backed Britain’s exit from the EU. He said there is a “militant candidate in this election. Offord is a militant brexiteer. If the deal doesn’t meet the six tests Labour has laid down, and there’s a clear change in public opinion, we should have a second referendum. If not I’ll hold one in Hendon and be guided by its result.” 62 percent of Barnet’s residents voted to remain in last year’s EU Referendum.
He hailed proposals in the party’s manifesto including decreased class sizes and a minimum wage but acknowledged the uphill struggle he faces with Jewish voters in the area. “I understand talking to Jewish people about voting Labour isn’t easy,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll come out of the Mill Hill synagogue hustings with some rods in my back. But I’m determined we should not say the way of tackling antisemitism is walking away. If we don’t have people like us standing in seats like this then there’s no future for the Labour Party at all.”
The event in Hendon was also attended by Newmark and the candidates for Chipping Barnet and Hertsmere Emma Whysall and Fiona Smith.