Jewish leaders condemn Labour for re-admitting three accused of antisemitism

Jewish leaders condemn Labour for re-admitting three accused of antisemitism

Board of Deputies criticises the party for allowing Jenny Rathbone, Jim Sheridan and Mary Bain Lockhart back in “with so much as a slap on the wrist”.

Marie van der Zyl
Marie van der Zyl

Jewish leaders have criticised the Labour Party for readmitting three members accused of antisemitism “without so much as a slap on the wrist”.

It follows the Party’s decision not to take further disciplinary action against Welsh Assembly member Jenny Rathbone, ex-Scottish Labour MP Jim Sheridan and Scottish Labour Councillor Mary Bain Lockhart.

Sheridan, who is now a councillor, apologised for saying he no longer respected the Jewish community because of their work with “Blairite plotters,” but insisted on Friday that his accusers had “over-reacted,” as his suspension was lifted.

Rathbone also apologised when she was readmitted two weeks ago, after a two-month suspension for saying in 2017 that the security concerns of Jewish worshippers at a heavily-guarded Cardiff synagogue could be “in their own heads”.

Meanwhile Fife councillor Lockhart was also readmitted after suggesting that Labour’s antisemitism woes may be “a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour government pledged to recognise [a State of] Palestine”.

On Monday, Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl accused the Party of “treating the Jewish community with contempt” following the trio’s readmittance.

“In a matter of weeks, Labour has readmitted three individuals from across the UK who had made antisemitic and offensive comments about Jews,” she said. “All of these individuals have been readmitted without so much as a slap on the wrist.”

She added: “Rather than dealing firmly with antisemitism in the Party, the Labour leadership has become an enabler and even propagator of antisemitism.

“It has treated the Jewish community with utter contempt, ignoring its fair and necessary demands for justice. The claim that Labour takes ‘complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously’ is clearly now taken from the post-truth playbook.”

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