National secretary of JLM warns disaffiliation ‘may well still happen’

National secretary of JLM warns disaffiliation ‘may well still happen’

Peter Mason stays Jewish community's organisation linked to the Labour Party may still split amid the row over antisemitism

Peter Mason addressing JLM
Peter Mason addressing JLM

Tom Watson has urged the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) to remain tied to the party – as its national secretary warned the body may still disaffiliate.

The opposition’s deputy leader made his remarks in a foreword for a pamphlet covering ‘A brief history of 99 years of affiliation to the Labour Party’, published by JLM ahead of its centenary and forthcoming annual general meeting.

Entitled ‘Solidarity and Discord’ and put together by Derek Taylor, the pamphlet features Jeremy Corbyn’s second-in-command, who reflects on the struggles faced by members of the community in recent years.

In the foreword, Watson criticises the party’s “processes” used to tackle antisemitism cases which  “simply haven’t worked”, as he insists he “will continue to monitor and press for action on antisemitism within the Labour Party for as long as it takes for it to be adequately dealt with.”

This comes after Watson was rebuked by the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby after he sent an email to Labour MPs and peers, asking for all complaints of abuse to be shared with him. Formby criticised him for reportedly breaching data laws.

As well as pressing the case for stronger action on Jew-hate, Watson said he hopes “JLM will remain affiliated to the Labour Party and continue to work with me in the pursuit of a more just world for us all.”

Watson’s comments come after the Jewish Labour Movement held an emergency general meeting last month, in which members voted unanimously not sever to ties to the party.

Following the vote, a series of leadership bids were launched to unseat chair Ivor Caplin, including from candidates supporting disaffiliation.

It was also announced that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will decide whether it will investigate claims of Jew-hate in Labour, after being reported by JLM.

Speaking of the “culture of antisemitism, obfuscation and denial” which “grips” the Party, Peter Mason, the JLM’s National Secretary issued a warning that cutting ties to Labour may yet happen, writing in the Jewish News this week.

He said: “There are those who believe that we must stay, stand and fight the antisemitism our members have experienced, and equally those who believe the time has come to walk away from the Party. As the outcome of our emergency general meetings demonstrated, for the majority, for now, that time has not yet come. It may well still.”

Mason added that “in referring the Labour Party to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, JLM has made a clarion declaration that we now believe the Party is institutionally racist.

“It will be for EHRC to make findings.

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