Leaders of two United Synagogue communities expressed “dismay and strong opposition” after their local Labour party affiliated to Jewish Voice for Labour.
Senior members of Muswell Hill and Highgate shuls, including two rabbis, undersigned a letter this week, outlining disappointment at Hornsey and Wood Green Constituency Labour party (CLP)’s recent move.
50 members of the CLP voted for affiliation, with 29 against and 13 abstentions, last week, despite opposition from community groups.
Jewish Voice for Labour are vocal opponents of the party’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and held a counter-demonstration to the Enough is Enough rally against Labour antisemitism.
In the letter, addressed to MP Catherine West and Celia Dignan, Chair of the CLP, signatories cite concerns over JVL, because they “opposed the adoption of the IHRA definition by the party and has given support to individuals who are no longer in the party due to their repeated offensive statements”
They also accuse the group of having “consistently downplayed and in certain circumstances denied antisemitism” while branding claims of Jew-hate as being part of a “smear of witch hunt”.
Calling the affiliation “reckless and irresponsible” given the state of relations between the mainstream Jewish community and the party, they fear that “the time has passed” for dialogue to resolve the problems.
The undersigned say they “feel that it is important for us to make a stand at this point in the fading hope you as leaders will bring your influence to bear on this difficult situation and come up with a credible proposal to take the party out of this morass.
Signatories from Muswell Hill shul include Rabbi David Mason, Karen Ackerman, Chair and Irene Mansfield, Board delegate. From Highgate, Rabbi Nicky Liss, Tim Cowen, Co-Chair and Adrian Cohen, Board of Deputies Delegate signed.