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Resignation of Labour council leader with ties to Jews described as 'a tragedy'

Claire Kober leaves post at Haringey Council after clashes with hard-left activists; pays tribute to Strictly Orthodox community in resignation statement

    A Labour council leader has quit her role after a series of clashes with hard-left activists, including over the authority’s adoption of a definition of antisemitism.

    Claire Kober has led Haringey Council in north London for nearly a decade, but will step down at May’s local elections.

    She was shouted down by protesters – thought to be from the pro-Jeremy Corbyn Momentum group – in May last year as she put forward a proposal for the authority to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of Jew-hate.

    One Jewish source in Westminster said her decision to step down – reported by the Evening Standard today – was “a tragedy”.

    In her resignation statement, Ms Kober spoke of her close connection with Strictly Orthodox Jews in the Seven Sisters ward which she represents.

    “I am proud of the strong relationship I have forged with the Charedi community in the ward,” she wrote.

    “I have developed true friendships with many in the community and am grateful for their unwavering support.

    “It is hard to put into words how difficult it has been to reach this decision. The last ten years have been an absolute privilege and at the moment, it’s impossible to imagine what could match being able to help people and change things for the better in the way that everyone in local government does every day.”

    Ms Kober has endured a long-running dispute with the hard-left over plans for an influx of social housing in Haringey. The issue is a key concern for Jewish families in the area.

    The council meeting she led on the IHRA definition last July was described by one person who was present as having had a “horrific and extremely intimidating” atmosphere.

    The local Momentum branch had earlier encouraged supporters to join a protest, which it said it was organising alongside the Haringey Justice for Palestinians group to oppose the adoption of the IHRA guidelines.

    A senior Jewish Labour figure told the JC Ms Kober had been “very supportive on challenging antisemitism” and her departure was “awful” for party moderates.

    Ms Kober, who has an OBE for services to local government, told the Standard: “The sexism, bullying, undemocratic behaviour and outright personal attacks on me as the most senior woman in Labour in Labour local government have left me disappointed and disillusioned.” 


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