Tom Watson: Labour’s reforms to deal with antisemitism ‘simply haven’t worked’

Tom Watson: Labour’s reforms to deal with antisemitism ‘simply haven’t worked’

Labour deputy leader appeals to Jewish Labour Movement to remain affiliated and vows to continue personally monitoring hate in forward to new pamphlet on affiliate's history

The Labour Party has a long and proud history of solidarity with the British Jewish community, as this pamphlet to mark this important moment in JLM’s affiliation to the Labour Party shows.

The Jewish Labour Movement helped found the Labour Party and as one of our oldest socialist society, has always been at the heart of our movement. From its proud roots as Poale Zion to the revived and reinvigorated membership organisation of over 2,000 people, JLM has gone from strength to strength over this past century. I’ve been a supporter of your work for many years, and it’s actually a little known fact that when I was a young political organiser in the Engineering and Electrical Union, one of my favourite tasks was to print the Poale Zion newsletter under the watchful supervision of Lawrie Nerva.

I know that the last few years have not been a happy time for relations between the Labour Party and the British Jewish community. As a party we have been too slow to respond to the growing incidences of antisemitism in the party and the reforms and processes the party has introduced to attempt to deal with antisemitism simply haven’t worked.

I have said before that the increase in antisemitism in the Labour Party is a crisis of the soul for us, a crisis that if not dealt with will lead to the Labour Party disappearing into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment. I cannot put it any more strongly than this.

As Deputy Leader I can only promise members of the Jewish Labour Movement that you have my full solidarity and support and that I 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.

I firmly believe that there will always be a special bond between the Jewish community and the Labour Party, based on the shared values and ideology which are encapsulated best by the concept of tikkun olam, which reminds us all of our obligation to pursue social justice and work for the good of society as a whole.

I will remain mindful of tikkun olam in my ongoing responsibility to support the Jewish community in the years ahead and I hope that 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.

As you read this pamphlet I hope you will see it as a proud reminder of JLM’s achievements within the Labour movement, but also as a catalyst to continue to build and strengthen JLM for the challenges ahead which I hope we will face together, united by our shared values and our proud joint history.


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