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Lord Falconer won't solve Labour's antisemitism crisis 'because the problem is at the top, in their political ideology'

MP Joan Ryan told JW3 audience: 'Either they would have to go and they are not going to go, or they would have to change, and they are not going to'

    Left to right: Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, MP Joan Ryan and Sir Mick Davis at JW3 March 5, 2019
    Left to right: Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, MP Joan Ryan and Sir Mick Davis at JW3 March 5, 2019 (Photo: Twitter)

    Labour’s plan for Lord Falconer to oversee antisemitism complaints would not resolve the problem because “the problem is at the top, in their political ideology”, one of the MPs who recently quit the party said.

    Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel and now part of the parliamentary Independent Group, said on Tuesday the former Justice Secretary was a good man who would “do his best”.

    But she added: “With all the goodwill in the world Charlie will bring to this, I don’t think Charlie can resolve it because the problem is at the top - in their thinking, in the political ideology…

    “I don’t think the problem can be solved because either they would have to go and they are not going to go, or they would have to change, and they are not going to.”

    Ms Ryan was warmly received at the JW3 centre in London when she chaired a discussion on Israel between Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog and former Jewish Leadership Council chairman Sir Mick Davis.

    While Labour leaders pointed out that antisemitism complaints involved only 0.1 per cent of their membership, she said: “If it is such a tiny problem, then why has it taken three and a half years to find any way to resolve it?”

    Although she believed the numbers were a little bigger, she said: “It is not a matter of numbers. Institutional racism is within your very organisational structures, within your processes and within your ideology. That’s the problem.”

    She said although sad, leaving the party after 38 years had been “perhaps the easiest decision I have ever made.”

    Last autumn, she had made a commitment to stand by the Jewish community whatever the personal cost.

    Referring to MP Luciana Berger who also quit the party, she said: “I could not see a young Jewish woman driven out of the party by antisemitic abuse and nobody from the leadership reaching out to her.”

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