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LAW model motion
1) This branch/CLP notes:
- That all candidates standing for the position of Labour leader have signed up to the 10 Pledges issued by the Board of Deputies, including Rebecca Long-Bailey.
- That the BoD is not the representative body for the majority of Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel. The BoD is a pro-Israel organisation and has supported every war, every attack launched by Israel. It encourages the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government (anti-Zionism), with antisemitism (hatred of Jews).
- That the BoD, and its individual officers, have maintained open hostility to Labour since Corbyn took leadership of the party. They organised the ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside parliament in March 2018, which was clearly aimed at weakening and attacking Jeremy Corbyn.
2) We believe:
- That it is not for the leader of the Labour Party, or candidates aspiring to be the leader, to commit themselves to such pledges. The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by the members of the party via annual conference.
- That the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ are an outrageous political interference by an organisation that is overtly hostile to today’s Labour Party and everything it stands for.
- They are an attack on free speech and would create a dangerous atmosphere of (self-) censorship.
- If implemented, the pledges could concretely lead to:
- The suspensions and expulsions of the thousands of Labour members who dare to stand in solidarity with those wrongly accused of antisemitism, including Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth.
- The BoD and other pro-Zionist organisations would decide who can and cannot be a member of the Labour Party. For example, the pledges demand a lifetime ban from membership for what the BoD refers to as “repeat offenders, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker” – both of whom have fought against racism for their entire life.
- The handing over of confidential details of ongoing disciplinary cases to “Jewish representative bodies” (by which the BoD chiefly means itself).
- The official sidelining and proscription of non-Zionist organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour, which are described as a “fringe organisation”.
We therefore call on all candidates in the Labour leadership election to officially distance themselves from these pledges and commit themselves to fight for a Labour Party that values and protects free speech, open debate and stands in international solidarity with the people in Palestine.
Motion passed by Ilford South LP branch
This branch condemns the Board of Deputies attempts at interference in the Labour party leadership election by demanding that candidates sign 10 pledges, one of which suggests outsourcing the Labour party’s disciplinary processes to a third party.
Their demands reflect the views of only one section of the British Jewish community, but they seek to proscribe the views of other Jewish groups who don’t agree with them, labelling them as fringe groups to be ignored and discounted.
The Board has been consistent in its support for the Conservative party, fulsomely welcoming the election of Boris Johnson, whose writings and actions expose a racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic mindset, yet they make no criticism of this or the fact that the Tory party members aren’t bound by the IHRA definition
This branch particularly notes that the pledges breach free speech and human rights, and do not include all forms of racism. They do not represent the diversity that exists in our branch or the country as a whole.
Accordingly we call upon candidates to reject this interference and review any decisions to sign the pledges and urge any candidates that have not thus far signed to reject their demands.
Draft Emergency motion
This CLP utterly condemns the ultimatum to the Labour Party and its leadership candidates by the Jewish Board of Deputies.
To accept their “Ten Pledges” (attached) would be to put the Labour party under the permanent control of an undemocratic right-wing group and prevent any attempt to speak up for the Palestinian people against a hard-right Israeli government. It is an unprecedented and quite blatant attack on free speech.
We note that:
- The Jewish Board of Deputies represents only the minority of British Jews who attend Orthodox synagogues and that some of those synagogues refuse to allow women to vote.
- The Chief Rabbi has described Boris Johnson as “a longstanding friend of the Jewish community” and congratulated him warmly on his election as Conservative Party leader.
- The former Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council is now Chief Executive of the Conservative Party
- The Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, is in no sense a representative organisation, in that its members don’t have to be Labour Party members and don’t even have to be Jewish. Further, it is only open to people who are explicitly Zionist and therefore excludes many left wing Jews.
- All of the above organisations have refused to meet with the Jewish Voice for Labour group to discuss their views on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in a calm and civilised way.
- Independent research carried out by Jewish and other organisations has clearly shown that anti-Semitism is more common on the right of politics than the left.
- All of these facts are well-documented and easy to confirm.
We call on both the NEC and all leadership candidates to distance themselves from this attack on the Labour Party.