Labour leadership hopefuls asked to back Board’s ‘ten pledges’ to mend relations

Labour leadership hopefuls asked to back Board’s ‘ten pledges’ to mend relations

Board of Deputies president tells candidates that 'rebuilding will take more than mild expressions of regret'

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies

Labour leadership hopefuls are being asked to sign up to ‘ten pledges’ issued by the Board of Deputies, to heal the rift between the party and the community.

Community leaders identified key problems including the resolving of outstanding cases within the party, a lack of transparency and independence.

Urging the party to take heed of the recommendations issues on Sunday, Board president Marie van der Zyl said: “Rebuilding will take more than mild expressions of regret”, from the successful candidate.

The pledges include a call to make the party’s “disciplinary process independent”, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and “ensure transparency” within the party’s processes for tackling antisemitism.

The Board also calls on Labour to shelve its “bland, generic statements” on incidents of antisemitism and offer “condemnation of specific harmful behaviours”, calling on the party’s new leader to “show leadership and take responsibility “ for the crisis.”

Labour is also being urged to ensure prominent former members such as “Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership” and ensure that any members or activists caught being antisemitic are acted upon.

Marie van der Zyl: “ Some of those hoping to take the Labour party forward have spoken of their regret at the party’s lack of action on antisemitism under the current leadership, as well as the need to do things differently.”

We will be frank. The relationship between Labour and the Jewish community, once rock solid, has been all but destroyed. Rebuilding will take more than mild expressions of regret. It will take a firm public commitment to agree to a specific course of action.

Criticising current leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response to community concerns in the past as being ‘limited at best, non-existent at worst”, she adds that “without serious action on antisemitism it is hard to trust the Labour party on any other issue.”

“We expect that those seeking to move the party forward will openly and unequivocally endorse these Ten Pledges in full, making it clear that if elected as leader, or deputy leader, they will commit themselves to ensuring the adoption of all these points.”

Candidates standing for leadership of the Labour Party are Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry. Since publishing its 10 pledges, Clive Lewis stood aside from the race.

Jewish News understands that other major communal organisations were not consulted over the pledges, provoking anger compounded by a belief that the candidates had been sent the pledges in advance of their publication. There was also disquiet that the pledges made no direct mention of the key Equalities and Human Rights Commission probe and a belief among some they offered a “free pass” to candidates who hadn’t done enough on antisemitism before but wanted to present themselves as having a kosher stamp.

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