Labour to unveil policies to ‘defend Jewish way of life’ and combat antisemitism
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Labour to unveil policies to ‘defend Jewish way of life’ and combat antisemitism

Jeremy Corbyn will reveal his race and faith manifesto today but the Board of Deputies criticise the move which 'fails to address the antisemitism in its own ranks'

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday November 21, 2019. (Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday November 21, 2019. (Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Labour Party is to unveil a programme of policies it says will protect the security of the community, “defend and celebrate Jewish way of life, and combat antisemitism in Britain”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s race and faith manifesto will be launched at an event in London on 26 November.

It would see an independent review “into the threat of far-right extremism and how to tackle it” and also includes a pledge to work with social media platforms to combat rising antisemitism online.

The manifesto promises to review the national curriculum to ensure it teaches about antisemitism as well as Islamophobia, xenophobia and black history, continue to educate about the Holocaust and support religious education about faiths in all schools.

It also commits to working “closely with our partners across Europe to challenge the rise of antisemitic rhetoric, including the use of antisemitic tropes about George Soros in Hungary and legislation in Poland which gives licence to Holocaust revisionism.”

Other policies includes an “equality audit”of all of Labour’s public service policies and a pledge to ensure coroners meet the needs of faith communities by rolling out out of hours services for quick burials.

Labour’s vow to scrap Universal Credit would see an end to the two-child limit on benefits, which the party claims “has disproportionately affected Jewish families, especially those in the Charedi community.”

Other pledges include a review of a Government scheme to ensure smaller groups such as the neighbourhood watch group Shomrim receive adequate funding and a legislative change labelling attacks on places of worship a specific aggravated offence.

The manifesto also promises to maintain funding in real terms for the Community Security Trust.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “In government, Labour will do everything necessary to guarantee the security of the Jewish community, defend the Jewish way of life and the right to live it freely, and to combat rising antisemitism in our country and across Europe.

“We will protect the rights of Jewish people to practice their religion and ensure public services meet the needs of Jewish people, from coroners services conducting quick burials to proper provision of religious and culturally sensitive social care and youth services.

“This year we have seen levels of antisemitism continue to rise and Jewish cemeteries in Bury and Kent desecrated. We will change the law to make such attacks on places of worship aggravated offences and continue the real terms funding for the Community and Security Trust, supporting the invaluable work they do to protect the Jewish community. We will review the curriculum so that every child is taught about antisemitism so that they can identify it and fight against it.”

Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “It is astonishing that Labour’s pledges in respect of the Jewish community fail to address the antisemitism in its own ranks. While Labour is correct to highlight the spectre of antisemitism on the far right and online, the Party cannot credibly take a lead in addressing antisemitism elsewhere if it does not first tackle anti-Jewish racism among its own membership.

“This has been sorely lacking over the last three and half years, and has led to Labour being only the second political party to face a racism probe from the Equality and Human Rights Commission after the British National Party. The tragedy is that this glaring omission is yet another missed opportunity which will, for many, overshadow the other constructive proposals put forward.”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Lord Alf Dubs said rising antisemitic incidents  requires “urgent action”, adding “that’s exactly what Labour is setting out.”

“Through educating every child on antisemitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia and the horrors of the Holocaust we can turn the tide on rising levels of prejudice for future generations,” he said.

“And by taking on the social media giants turning a blind eye to conspiracies and by launching a review into far-right extremism we can tackle the hate that has been allowed to spread for far too long.

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