Corbyn in ‘positive discussions’ over new tough line on antisemitism

Jewish Labour Movement motion calls on Labour to get tough on members who express antisemitic, homophobic or Islamophobic views


Jeremy Corbyn has given a “positive” response to a rule change proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement which will allow the Labour Party to take a tougher line on antisemitic abuse.

The JC revealed earlier this month how the JLM had called on Labour to adopt a tougher line on members of the party who are deemed to have expressed antisemitic, homophobic or Islamophobic views.

At the moment, party members cannot be disciplined for “the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions”.

The JLM says passing the motion would win back support from many former Jewish supporters of Labour – and would have led to a different punishment for the likes of former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who is currently suspended from the party for his comments on Hitler and Zionism.

Supporters of the motion say it will be a major step forward for the party to take a new unified position on the proposal – but the real test will come on Tuesday when it is discussed at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee.

The exact wording of the motion was being finalised in the run-up to Tueday’s meeting, but a source confirmed to the JC there had been “positive discussions” with Mr Corbyn’s team.

Another source told The Guardian: “Jeremy is committed to tackling antisemitism and is hopeful that the NEC will pass this motion.”

Mike Katz, JLM’s national vice-chair, said it was crucial that the final wording of the motion had support from all sides. “We need a rule change that is fit for purpose,” he said. “Fix this and we start fixing the relationship between the party and the Jewish community – not just the right thing to do, but it helps us get closer to winning back seats in Jewish areas we narrowly lost out on in June.”

Richard Angell, the director of Labour’s centrist pressure group Progress, said the final wording of the motion was crucial and added; “It is time to draw a line under antisemitism in Labour party, have the powers to act when people like Ken Livingstone go out and offend so many British Jews and ensure the Jewish community that supports Labour can flourish in the party.

“It is crucial that the final wording agreed by the NEC has the support of JLM. It is time to unite the party and make clear: antisemitism is not welcome in Labour.”

Labour NEC member Alice Perry, who sits on the equalities committee, told the Guardian. “Labour and the NEC are fully committed to tackling all forms of hate and prejudice,” she said. “Jeremy Corbyn has a proud record of standing up to all forms of racism wherever it takes place.”

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