The Jewish Labour Movement has lambasted Dame Louise Ellman’s local party for arranging a vote of no confidence in her on Kol Nidre, as “racially motivated targeting”.
Dame Louise Ellman MP, who became the chair of Labour Friends of Israel in August, has been a prominent critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the antisemitism crisis, and recently said she “understood” if Jews felt like leaving the UK if he became prime minister.
The Constituency Labour Party in Liverpool Riverside lodged the motion this week, stating: “This branch is fully behind Jeremy Corbyn.”
Referring to Ellman’s recent comments, it added: “We have no confidence that our MP… will carry out the wishes of our CLP and our constituency or that she will follow Labour Party policy. This branch therefore calls on Louise Ellman to resign.”
In response, the Jewish Labour Movement, which is the community’s only affiliate to the party, said that the scheduling of the vote “is truly despicable.”
“This is racially motivated targeting and bullying of a Jewish MP – a perfect example of how the Party is institutionally racist towards Jews”, a statement said.
“This isn’t the first time that Liverpool Riverside has sought to silence, sideline or sack Dame Louise for speaking truth to power and calling out racism. The General Secretary, Jennie Formby, must step in now and put this rotten CLP into special measures.”
JLM added that they will “be asking the EHRC [Equality and Human Rights Commission] to consider this example of institutional antisemitism and the leadership’s reaction to it as part of its inquiry.”
Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl condemned the timing of the vote.
“That a Jewish MP should be threatened with a vote of no confidence tabled for Yom Kippur – the holiest day in the Jewish calendar – when she has no opportunity even to respond, ought to be a source of deep shame for the Labour Party,” she said.
“Louise Ellman has fought bravely against antisemitism in her own party, and she should be applauded, not vilified.”
Ellman is the latest Jewish MP who has been critical of Corbyn to face being kicked out by local Party members. Last week, Dame Margaret Hodge heard that she was facing a reselection challenge in her Barking constituency.
Hodge famously berated Corbyn in the House of Commons, calling him “an antisemite”. She later refused to retract the accusation.