At least seven community organisations have joined the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, in snubbing Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed ‘roundtable’ discussion on relations with Labour.
The Labour leader invited numerous community groups for a ‘Respect and Engagement’ event on 25 April, just 24 hours after talks are scheduled between Corbyn, the Board and JLC.
Invitees to the meeting, which is still going ahead, were urged to “contribute to a fruitful and constructive discussion on moving forward”, but representatives from communal organisations have since said they will not attend.
Concerns were raised after it became apparent an invite had been extended to Jewish Voice for Labour, a group which has long questioned whether claims of antisemitism in the party are exaggerated
As of Wednesday, representatives from JW3, the Community Security Trust, Liberal Judaism, Masorti Judaism, the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, Foundation For Jewish Heritage and the Union of Jewish Students, have said they won’t be at the meeting on 25 April.
They cite support for the Board and JLC’s role in leading dialogue with the Labour leader, after the two bodies wrote to the Jeremy Corbyn relaying communal concerns over Labour anti-Semitism in April.
They say the second meeting has no agenda for action, and “see no reason” to go, while urging “other Jewish communal organisations to follow our lead.”
A Union of Jewish Students statement spoke of “faith and confidence” in the BoD and JLC’s “ability to convey the important issues our community faces… and as such, UJS will not be attending.”
Masorti Judaism added it believes “the community should present a united front on this issue under the leadership of the BoD and JLC”, while Liberal Judaism said two community organisations “are the representative bodies of British Jewry and therefore we should allow their process to complete”.
Others were more hesitant in saying if they’d attend or not, with the Jewish Labour Movement telling Jewish News: “We’ll decide when know who is invited, what the format is, what we will be discussing, and how well Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting with the JLC and Board of Deputies went”.
Meanwhile, left-wing group Yachad said they “have asked the Leader’s Office to confirm the meeting’s full attendees list and agenda. We would only attend a meeting if we truly believe that it will allow an open and productive discussion.”
Jewish News has approached more than 35 organisations who are believed to have been invited, alongside individual Jewish public figures.