Demands to revoke Jewish Labour Movement award

Demands to revoke Jewish Labour Movement award

Relatives of former Labour candidate Del Singh criticise party for 'misappropriation' and urge Jeremy Corbyn to reverse the decision

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (second left) presenting an award to JLM in 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (second left) presenting an award to JLM in 2017

The family of a Labour activist killed in 2014 have demanded an apology, after the Jewish Labour Movement was given an award in his name.

Relatives of deceased prospective Labour MEP Del Singh have called for an award given to JLM in his honour to be “revoked and a full explanation provided as to why the award was given in the first place.”

Singh, an aid worker murdered by the Taliban, had previously served on the board of Labour Friends of Palestine (LFPME),  and his family say the “cause of Palestinian human rights remained close to Del’s heart”.

In a statement, his sister Dish Kaur-Umfleet criticises Labour for “misappropriation”, in giving the award to the Jewish Labour Movement and urge the party’s General Secretary Iain McNicol and leader Jeremy Corbyn to reverse the decision.

“Imagine my shock and disbelief when last night the Labour Party awarded Louise Ellmann MP and other members of the JLM the Del Singh Memorial Award. Images and social media posts celebrating those who opposed much of what Del Stood for during his life weren’t easy to stomach.”

She accuses JLM members of “tirelessly defending the human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation”, and attacking “the very work and positions that Del advocated as part of LFPME”.

“To use my brother’s name and disrespect his memory and everything he stood for is beyond crude and offensive”, she said.

“I can confidently say that Del would have been outraged at this. But of course, we, his family, were not consulted.”

Speaking to Jewish News, Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said: “We were delighted to have received this award following our nomination by the entire Labour Party NEC.

“I had the privilege of meeting Del Singh on a number of occasions at Labour Party meetings and events. Whilst we clearly had different perspectives on elements of the Middle East conflict we also had much in common on both this and other issues, including commitment to human rights, equality and social justice. Del always talked about the importance of listening to narratives other than our own.

“It is in that spirit that we are proud to have received this award. I have communicated this to Del’s family and very much hope to have the opportunity to meet with them in due course.”

Earlier this week members of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) celebrated receiving the Labour Party’s Del Singh award, given for best practice to affiliated and member-led organisations.

The award, presented by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP, recognises effective campaigns. Previous winners have included LGBT Labour and the Labour Women’s Network.

This year’s award specifies the work done by JLM “in engaging and mobilising the Jewish community in support of Labour campaigns”, and is, say the JLM leadership, “a testament to the hard work of our 2000+ members and activists across the country”.

After being handed the award by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, JLM national chair, Jeremy Newmark, said: “In what has undoubtedly been another tough year for Jewish members of the Labour Party, it is reassuring that JLM is being recognised for its work fighting anti-Semitism, as well as our campaigns and activity supporting Labour candidates and Labour values across the country.

“As JLM looks towards our centenary of affiliation to the Labour Party, this award is also recognition of the work of my predecessors, including Louise Ellman MP, Lawrie Nerva and John Lebor”.

JLM Parliamentary chair Luciana Berger MP added: “In the past few years JLM has gone from strength to strength, ensuring that the Jewish community is not just welcome in the Labour Party, but celebrated for our contribution. I’m glad this has been recognised. In a week where Labour Party Conference will be debating the rule changes that have been tabled by JLM to stamp out any form of discrimination in the party, it is encouraging for our work to be recognised in this way”.

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