Ruth Smeeth calls for independent process to tackle antisemitism

Ruth Smeeth calls for independent process to tackle antisemitism

Parliamentary chair of Jewish Labour Movement says Jeremy Corbyn's proposals to more tackle Jew-hate could allow power over cases 'to be consolidated' by his supporters

Ruth Smeeth
Ruth Smeeth

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has cast doubt on proposals put forward by Jeremy Corbyn to tackle antisemitism, saying a lack of independence in the process could allow power over cases “to be consolidated” by his supporters.

The parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement called for a completely independent process for dealing with antisemitism cases in the party.

This comes after the shadow cabinet signed up to Corbyn’s plan to reform the handling of antisemitism complaints, ahead of a meeting of the National Executive Committee on Tuesday.

Corbyn’s proposal – one of several put forward – is that Labour’s general-secretary alongside a panel of NEC officers could summarily expel members guilty of flagrant antisemitism.

The MP said: “The proposals that were sanctioned by the shadow cabinet and will be discussed today at the NEC just simply aren’t good enough.

“There is still no independence, in fact arguably political power over antisemitism cases is going to be consolidated by political supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.”

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “I think we need a completely independent process that could restore faith for everybody.”

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Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz responded, saying he “can’t have any confidence in these new proposals. This is just rearranging the deckchairs.”

He said the NEC “is elected on factional slates on the basis of political patronage” with “an in-built majority for the left which does what the leadership of the Party tells it to”.

He added: “We know we can’t rely on the NEC to make decisions in the interest of Jewish members. It’s failed for years to guard against factional and political interference.

“Nothing short of a fully independent process… is even going to begin to suggest that the Party leadership really cares about tackling institutional anti-Jewish racism.”

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