Local Labour branch amends Pittsburgh motion to remove calls for party to combat antisemitism

Lines calling for 'antisemitism to be eradicated' and for Labour to 'lead the way' on the issue were taken out


A local Labour party has confirmed it amended a motion about the Pittsburgh synagogue attack to remove a call for all forms of antisemitism to be eradicated and for Labour to “lead the way in opposing" Jew-hate.

On Saturday, the gunman entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 worshippers during Shabbat services. It is believed to be the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history. 

At a meeting of the Southend West Constituency Labour Party, a motion was proposed that described the perpetrator having “a long history of antisemitic views and a… deep hatred for Jewish people”.

The motion, as initially proposed, included the lines: “This constituency Labour party… recognises that antisemitism exists in society and affirm our belief that all forms of antisemitism must be eradicated… and calls on the Labour party to lead the way in opposing antisemitism and fighting racism in all levels of society.”

The Red Roar blog reported the motion was then amended by “far left members” to remove those lines, replaced with a commitment to “reach out to the local synagogue with our condolences”.

On Thursday, the Southend West CLP released a statement, claiming there had been a “misrepresentation” that was “hugely disappointing”.

“Members expressed our outrage at the events in Pittsburgh and resolved to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community worldwide,” the statement said.

However, it also acknowledged that amendments to the motion were made, saying: “The party, nationally and locally, already has a firm policy against antisemitism and members wanted this motion to be about specific actions we would take locally.”

Social media users, including a number of Labour members, expressed their dismay at the CLP’s actions, describing them as “weak and pathetic.”

Labour councillor Simon Jeal said: “The local synagogue must be thrilled they will now be reached out to by a group that couldn’t agree to condemn all forms of antisemitism.”

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