Large majority of Jewish Labour members say they find branches unwelcoming, according to report

Survey was carried out by left-wing think tank the Fabian Society in August


A Labour supporter wears a rosette as he listens to Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn at an election campaign event in Morecambe, northwest England on November 15, 2019. - Britain's main opposition Labour party today promised free, fast broadband internet for everyone, in an eye-catching pledge for next month's election. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Sixty five per cent of Jews in the Labour Party disagree with the claim that other local members are all friendly and welcoming, a new report has found.

Jewish people were the group least likely to find their branches welcoming, followed by lesbian, gay and bisexual members, people under the age of 35, women and ethnic minorities, according to the survey published last month.

Jewish respondents reported some of the worst experiences during a poll of 2,890 people carried out by the Fabian Society in August - before the party agreed to set up a new disciplinary system in a bid to stamp out antisemitism from its ranks. 

One person told researchers at the left-wing think tank that there were “quite high levels of antisemitism, both macro and micro aggressions” and was unsure as to how to complain.

Another reported being Jewish and a member of the Jewish Labour Movement - one of the party’s oldest affiliate groups - and said “many local party members see this as a bad thing.” 

“I worry they'd block me from being a candidate for that reason,” the person added. 

One member said: "I was asked questions about my loyalty and affiliations and memberships because I am Jewish. Other candidates were not asked these questions."

Overall the report found that those in "disadvantaged or under-represented groups" were "more likely to report negative experiences of local parties than members without the same barriers".

The survey was open to all and promoted through blog sites, social media and organisations close to the party.

The report’s authors stressed those polled were “not designed to be representative of the membership as a whole”. 

They also compared findings to a “rear-view mirror”, noting that reforms “newly introduced by the party came after the survey was carried out so won't be reflected in the results.”

“Nevertheless, this is important evidence for Labour in taking forward its commitment to equality and inclusion within the membership.” 

A Labour Party spokesman told the Telegraph that: "Keir's relentless focus since his election as leader has been on positively changing the Labour Party. Thanks to the significant progress made, we are proving to the public that we understand and are acting on their priorities.

"This progress includes rebuilding our relationship with the Jewish community,and demonstrating wholeheartedly that only Labour is the party of equality and opportunity for our members and the country. We are committed to taking our dedicated membership with us at every step."

The party was contacted for comment.

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