Councillor berates local Labour party for ‘singling out Jews’ in seven of last nine meetings

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Councillor berates local Labour party for ‘singling out Jews’ in seven of last nine meetings

Phil Rosenberg said the Hampstead and Kilburn branch tolerated 'shameful' anti-Semitism - as the party promises to probe allegations

Phil Rosenberg
Phil Rosenberg

A Jewish Labour councillor  has accused his local constituency party of “institutional racism” for “singling out Jews and Israel” in seven of the last nine meetings.

Phil Rosenberg said the Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party (CLP) was “toxic,” adding that he would no longer attend meetings.

Writing for Jewish News this week, he derided the CLP’s “shameful” Wednesday night vote to retract an award given to a pro-Israel group in the name of an anti-Israel activist.

It follows protestations from the family of Del Singh, a Labour Member of the European Parliament and aid worker murdered by the Taliban, who said the award in his name should not have been given to the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

Rosenberg, a Labour councillor in West Hampstead ward, Camden, made the comments in a personal capacity, and while he did not resign, he said he would no longer attend meetings.

“As I warned on Wednesday, amid the nauseating cacophony of jeers and heckling against anyone who dares question the ‘permitted groupthink’, the effect on most Jews will be a clear sign that this is no safe space for us,” he said.

It comes within the context of a pitched battle between left-leaning Jews who support Israel and Jewish Labour members who criticise the state and its treatment of Palestinians. The latter set up a new group last year called Jewish Voice for Labour, which is at odds with the Jewish Labour Movement over Israeli policy.

Rosenberg, who works of the Board of Deputies as director of public affairs, said: “I take utter exception to their attempts to excuse – or even lead – an assault against most Jews that involves a repeated singling out of Jews and Israel and an apparent blanket absolution for those who make racist comments.”

Last year the Del Singh Memorial Award was given to Louise Ellman MP and the JLM, but Singh’s sister, Dish Kaur-Umfleet, said the family were aghast that it was being given to “those that have tirelessly defended the human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation, which Del spoke so passionately against”.

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said: “I have a long track record of standing up against and calling out anti-Semitism. No instances of anti-Semitism can be tolerated and if people do not feel that their local CLP is a safe place then that has to be addressed.”

I have already raised this with the regional Party and will be working with them to do whatever is required to ensure that our local Labour Party is a safe and friendly place for all members.”

A London Labour Party Spokesperson said: “We take allegations of anti-Semitism very seriously and will be looking into the matter.”

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