Voice of the Jewish News: Party’s willingness to listen bodes well

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Voice of the Jewish News: Party’s willingness to listen bodes well

This week's editorial reflects on the roaring success of the Jewish Labour Movement's One Day Conference, featuring Sir Keir Starmer and seven shadow cabinet members

Jewish News
Ruth Smeeth, Keir Starmer, Peter Mandelson and Margaret Hodge speaking at the JLM One Day virtual conference (Screenshots via JLM)
Ruth Smeeth, Keir Starmer, Peter Mandelson and Margaret Hodge speaking at the JLM One Day virtual conference (Screenshots via JLM)

It’s been a week of lows but also, for once, significant highs in the -psychodrama that is Labour’s relations with the Jewish community. 

Yet another errant councillor — Puru Miah in Tower Hamlets — has been suspended over claims of antisemitism. And senior figures from constituency Labour parties in Nottingham East and Hampstead and Kilburn have been -suspended for defying orders from party headquarters regarding debate around Sir Keir Starmer’s refusal to reinstate Jeremy Corbyn as a Labour MP. 

There can be no doubt about the scale of the challenge facing the new leader if he is to make good on his pledge to restore the trust of British Jews but the willingness of the party to engage and the community to listen was very evident on Sunday at the Jewish Labour Movement’s online conference. 

It was about as impressive a political conference as the community has ever witnessed, with far more on the agenda than just antisemitism. 

No fewer than seven shadow ministers turned out for the 12-hour event during which deputy party leader Angela Rayner said she would be prepared to expel thousands of members if need be and Starmer hinted that party rules could be changed to allow back those who left Labour over antisemitism and campaigned for other parties. 

The words were faultless; now action must follow. The fact that 1,000 people logged on during the event showed a strong appetite for relations with a leadership that undoubtedly appears to be on the right tracks but also knows how much work is still ahead.

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