Already, Labour has a long list of challenges to handle

The JC Leader, 12 July 2024


Keir Starmer (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

July 10, 2024 15:28

How times change. Five years ago a Labour landslide would have prompted widespread fear – panic, even – within our community. Today, a sign of the breadth of support for the party among Jews is that all three seats in Barnet are, for the first time ever, held by Labour.

We wish the new government well. It is in everyone’s interests that it is successful.

There are a series of issues which many Jews will be watching with particular interest: calls for a ceasefire in Gaza without proper focus on Hamas and the hostages, recognition of a Palestinian state without a guarantee of Israel’s security, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, campus antisemitism, proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and, last but not least, the Gaza marches that continue to blight our capital.

The latter should be of particular concern to Labour because it chimes with one of the most disturbing features of the election: the rise in sectarian voting, leading to the success of independent candidates who campaigned solely on Gaza, stirring up hatred of mainstream politics and politicians.

Labour lost a number of seats, including that of Jonathan Ashworth, and was very close to seeing the backs of key figures such as Wes Streeting and Shabana Mahmood.

Jewish communal bodies and campaigners have been warning since October 7 that the atmosphere is dangerously heated. Very little has been done.

Since Labour is now itself a victim of this, perhaps the party will act where the previous government did not, and ensure that our politics are protected from groups who seek to use religious affiliation to undermine our democratic norms.

July 10, 2024 15:28

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