Jewish Labour Movement suspends antisemitism training for party members

Jewish Labour Movement suspends antisemitism training for party members

Move comes as Labour is investigated for institutional antisemitism and party ditches JLM as sole provider of training for university programme run by Chakrabarti report co-chair

Joe Millis is a journalist

Jewish Labour Movement at Cable Street 80 event
Jewish Labour Movement at Cable Street 80 event

The Jewish Labour Movement has suspended its antisemitism training for party members while the Equalities and Human Rights Commission investigates the Labour Party for institutional racism. 

In a statement on Monday night, just after the party announced it was ditching JLM as the group which gave antisemitism training, the movement said: “We cannot in good faith continue to provide our training whilst the Party seek to undermine our role in this way. 

We will shortly be writing to all CLPs [constituency Labour parties] and organisations where training is currently scheduled to suspend our involvement. 

The Party leadership have a choice. They can either address the concerns of its Jewish affiliate and those of the Jewish community. Alternatively, they can continue to act in a reckless and damaging way.” 

Only last week, JLM members agreed at an Emergency General Meeting to remain affiliated to the party. 

Instead of JLM training, the party is committing itself to new university course, as reported by the JC, devised by Birkbeck, University of London, and the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism. 

Birkbeck’s programme was developed with Professor David Feldman, who was vice-chairman on Baroness Shami Chakrabarti’s report into Labour antisemitism, which was widely criticised as a “whitewash”.  

JLM noted that it had been “contacted by hundreds of people asking us to run our antisemitism awareness training at CLPs, branches, Labour groups. 

This reflects the fact that we have for a number of years provided this training to the Party for free, sending volunteers to speak at meetings across the country, paid from the subs we raise from our members, often to hostile audiences.” 

It added that while the training had been made available to the Labour Party National Executive Committee and staff, it has not been taken up.  

“Since the Party sought to redefine the IHRA definition of antisemitism last summer, and with no consultation having taken place on the Party’s still active antisemitism code of conduct, we have made it clear to the Party leadership that we cannot support attempts to commission new awareness training from their own preferred providers,” JLM said. 

“In the past, the Party has said that they wish to deliver a ‘gold standard’ antisemitism training programme. We cannot accept the suggestion that the Party knows better than its Jewish affiliate, or the Jewish community what constitutes antisemitism.  

“Particularly when in recent days press reports have demonstrated the Party has failed time and again to identify clear cases of antisemitism, with senior members of the Leader of the Opposition’s Office directly intervening in disciplinary cases.” 

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