Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger has ripped into the Party’s leadership on antisemitism, accusing it of “going backwards” and of “turning a blind eye” to Jew hatred.
The Liverpool Wavertree representative is one of the centrist Labour MPs widely expected to form their own breakaway party in the coming weeks, with Berger writing in The Times that Labour “is not the party I joined”.
In her article, she said the online antisemitic abuse suffered by Countdown presenter Rachel Riley together with the ending of two antisemitism disciplinary investigations shortly before Holocaust Memorial Day had left her in despair.
She said last year’s Enough is Enough rally in London “should have been a watershed moment” but “nearly a year later, it feels like we have gone backwards”.
She added: “I am sick of being tainted by the stain of Labour antisemitism. I am increasingly concerned that Labour’s disciplinary committees are turning a blind eye to hatred towards Jews. It is so damaging to Labour’s standing for the row over antisemitism to rumble on week after week. This is not the party I joined.”
Fellow Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has jointly tabled a motion to be debated during a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party tonight, calling on the leadership to reveal further details about pending and past disciplinary cases.
It is not clear whether the Party’s policies and procedures would allow the public disclosure of such information, but Berger said clarity was needed to avoid the suspicion that disciplinary panels were not involved in “murky complicity”.
Last week, following HMD, Luciana spoke at Yad Vashem UK’s annual dinner, where she demanded to know “where’s the zero tolerance we were promised” on Labour antisemitism. She told guests: “I’ve been thoroughly ashamed, angered and appalled by the rise of antisemitism on the left and inside the Labour Party. It’s disgusting, and increasingly it’s going unchecked. I’ve been calling for faster justice for the victims of Labour antisemitism, and for the perpetrators to be adequately dealt with.
“Where is the ‘zero tolerance’ we were promised? Some of those accused of antisemitism are merely reminded of the code of conduct before being allowed to carry on as members of the Labour party.”
She added: “I don’t want peddlers of anti-Jewish hate to be given a stern warning or sent on a training course – I want them expelled from the Labour Party. And we must demand that none of our political parties can ever provide a safe haven for antisemites.”