Labour’s new shadow communities secretary said he would encourage local councils not to boycott Israel during a meeting with Jewish community leaders.
Steve Reed had a virtual discussion with representatives from the Board of Deputies and Community Security Trust this week, to discuss antisemitism, security and interfaith.
It is understood, he said he would remind local Labour leaders against supporting boycotts of Israel, which has occurred in some councils in recent years.
Reiterating Starmer’s apology for the antisemitism row, Reed said he’s totally committed to ensuring “the rift between the Labour Party and the UK’s Jewish community is mended”, after years of strain under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
This comes ahead of the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over claims of institutional antisemitism in the party.
Reed said: “We discussed the importance of local councils promoting community cohesion”, as well as interfaith and keeping the community safe.
Giving his “assurance that I will do whatever I can” to combat Jew-hate, he said: “I will be writing to all Labour’s local government leaders to ask those who have not yet done so to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism in full and with all its examples including reminding them not to support actions that seek to delegitimise the State of Israel.”
Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, welcomed his “commitment to encouraging Labour’s local government leaders to adopt the IHRA definition and examples”, calling the focus on dialogue “an important first step” in mending ties.
She added that it was “encouraging” that Reed recognised “words alone are not enough” to rebuild trust.