Jeremy Newmark has stepped down from his role as chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) following allegations
of financial impropriety
during his time at the helm of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).
It comes as the JLC told the Jewish Chronicle this week that it had hired an independent law firm and that it would soon hire independent accountants to review its handling of the case around Newmark, who resigned in 2013 for health reasons.
Newmark, who narrowly lost out in his 2017 bid to become an MP in Finchley and Golders Green, resigned from the JLM after revitalising the organisation over the last two years, amid the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism scandal and increasingly strained relations with the Jewish community.
Peter Mason, the national secretary of the JLM, said Newmark was stepping down “to enable him to act in a clear and individual capacity in seeking redress following the publication of historic allegations about him and others”. Newmark has refuted the allegations.
Mason denied claims that the national executive committee (NEC) of the JLM had voted “overwhelmingly” to ask Newmark to resign, or that he had initially refused, and praised Newmark’s time
“Jeremy has been a key member of JLM’s NEC,” said Mason. “Over the last two years he has played a crucial role in growing and sustaining the organisation under incredibly difficult circumstances.” He added that “there are no allegations whatsoever against Jeremy relating to the Jewish Labour Movement”.
Newmark was chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council from 2006 to 2013, before which he was the spokesman for then Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.
Newmark, the leader of Hertsmere’s Constituency Labour Party, was chosen to be the parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green in May last year, narrowly losing to Tory incumbent Mike Freer. He attracted condemnation for standing against a strong ally of the community.
Now looking for a new chair, the Jewish Labour Movement was established in 1903 as the Jewish Socialist Labour Party (Poale Zion) and this week celebrates 98 years of having been affiliated to the Labour Party.
Newmark had been critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to tackling anti-Semitism in the party, saying last month that he “questions whether [Corbyn] understands it the way we do”.
Last year, following calls by JLM, Labour enacted new rules designed to make it easier to deal with anti-Semites in the party. The party has also adopted the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.