JLM calls for Labour to suspend whip of newly-elected MP Lisa Forbes
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

JLM calls for Labour to suspend whip of newly-elected MP Lisa Forbes

Jewish Labour Movement urges action over new Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes', who apologised for liking a Facebook comment saying Theresa May has a "Zionist slave masters agenda"

Newly elected Labour MP Lisa Forbes gives her winners speech after the count for the Peterborough by-election at the Kings Gate Church in Peterborough. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Newly elected Labour MP Lisa Forbes gives her winners speech after the count for the Peterborough by-election at the Kings Gate Church in Peterborough. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Jewish Labour Movement has urged the party to suspend the whip of newly-elected MP Lisa Forbes, after she was embroiled in an online antisemitism row.

The community’s only official affiliate to the opposition party hit out at the new Peterborough member of parliament, following her narrow election win on Thursday.

This comes after she faced controversy in the week before the poll, over a Facebook post she “liked” which said Theresa May has a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.

She subsequently apologised for “not calling out these posts” and promised to challenge antisemitism in future.

However a JLM spokesperson said the party “has consistently failed to take a zero tolerance approach to anti-Jewish hate. This has encouraged a culture to develop where not only is it acceptable for someone who has shared racist material and rejected the internationally accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism to be a member, but they can advance politically and gain public office.

“Labour’s newest MP is a perfect example of this.

“Ms Forbes will have to go far, far further than her statements at the weekend to demonstrate to our members and the Jewish community that she isn’t racist against Jews.

“The PLP called for the Party to adopt the IHRA definition. Given her previous rejection of IHRA, Ms Forbes should have the whip suspended immediately.

“This show how urgent and necessary the EHRC’s investigation into Labour’s institutional racism is. The Party is simply incapable of rooting out hate by itself”.

A Labour Party source responded by saying: “Lisa Forbes did not make any comments herself or share any posts. She liked a video about showing solidarity with Christchurch victims without reading the accompanying text, which Facebook users know is an easy thing to do. She has fully accounted for this genuine mistake and apologised. We’re celebrating a fantastic by election win where voters rejected Tory austerity and the politics of division peddled by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and looking forward to welcoming Lisa to Parliament where she will be a champion for the people of Peterborough.”

Reacting to her by-election victory and concerns of JLM, a joint statement was issued by Simon Johnson, Chief Executive, Jewish Leadership Council, Marie van der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews and David Delew, Chief Executive, Community Security Trust.

They said that before she was elected, they “commented that we were fed up of hearing that Labour opposes antisemitism yet simultaneously hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racism that was staring them in the face.

“Anti-Jewish racism within the Labour Party is being normalised and fully supported by the Party.

“Our organisations have had no direct contact from Lisa Forbes and no response from the Party regarding our concerns.

“The Party’s failure to even try to engage with our concerns or to implement the changes for which we have called is an ongoing symptom of the racist mess for which it is now being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”

JLM said that despite talking about reaching out to the community – Lisa had not made contact with the group since last weekend.

Ms Forbes’ online activities were highlighted by the Sunday Times, which reported she also commented under a post whose author claimed that Islamic extremists were the creation of the CIA and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

She wrote underneath: “I have enjoyed reading this thread so much. So much that trys (sic) to divide us, but there is far much more that unites us.”

Ms Forbes told the newspaper she apologised “wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts” and said that she had liked the video attached to the post, “not the views expressed in the accompanying text”.

She added: “Regardless of whether I am elected, I will deepen my understanding of antisemitism so I can act as an ally, challenging it wherever it occurs.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments