Actions are what matter, JLM tells Sir Keir in meeting

The first meeting between a Labour leader and the Jewish Labour Movement since 2014 took place on Monday


The Jewish Labour Movement’s national chair Mike Katz has said "actions are what matter'' after the group held formal talks with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy, Angela Rayner.

At Monday's meeting, which took place virtually, discussions took place on Labour's response to the forthcoming publication of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into claims of institutional antisemitism within the party.

Repeating the pledge he gave to the JC in March, Sir Keir said he would implement all the watchdog's recommendations as “a minimum”.

He also reconfirmed his commitment to an independent complaints process to help to rebuild trust among the Jewish community – while also agreeing to deliver a keynote speech at JLM’s forthcoming Henry Smith Memorial Lecture.

Sir Keir acknowledged it would take "strong leadership from the very top of our party to change the culture".

He added: "I want to acknowledge just how difficult the last few years have been for the Jewish Labour Movement and Jewish members of the Labour Party."

Mike Katz, JLM's national chair, said: "We have already been encouraged by Keir Starmer's strong condemnation of antisemitism, his apology to the Jewish community and his commitment to getting a grip on this problem.

"But we've always said that actions are what matter. Reforming the party's culture as well as making its management and processes fit for purpose will take time and focus."

The meeting was the first between a Labour leader and the Jewish Labour Movement since 2014, following the breakdown in its relations with Jeremy Corbyn.

Dame Louise Ellman, who has hinted she would consider returning to the party she quit last year in protest at Mr Corbyn handling of antisemitism, also attended the conference on Zoom.

It is understood that Dame Louise is yet to commit to a return to Labour - which Sir Keir has previously said would be one of his tests to show he was dealing with anti-Jewish racism.

Sir Keir told JLM that he and his deputy, Ms Rayner, were "intent on working together to make significant progress on tackling antisemitism and it is our priority to do so".

JLM, the only Jewish group formally affiliated to Labour, was one of Mr Corbyn's most outspoken critics and referred the party to the EHRC.

On Tuesday the Board of Deputies sent Labour a briefing on 11 cases of alleged antisemitism that they said were outstanding and were examples of where the Party's disciplinary process has failed.

The most prominent example was that of the suspended NEC member Pete Willsman.

The Board said other members in question include a National Executive Committee member, a councillor, a council candidate, a CLP chair and a branch chair, as well as ordinary members. 

The information was compiled with the assistance of the Labour Against Antisemitism group.

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