Luciana Berger MP to become JLM Parliamentary Chair
We are pleased to announce that Shadow Mental Health Minister Luciana Berger has been elected as Parliamentary Chair of JLM. This new post was created following the governance review carried out earlier this year. As Parliamentary Chair, Luciana will chair our new Parliamentary and Political Council. This is the main vehicle through which Labour parliamentarians will engage with our work.
Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana was elected to Parliament in 2010. She was appointed Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, and then Shadow Minister for Public Health, campaigning for the NHS. At the general election in 2015 Luciana was re-elected with 70 per cent of the total number of votes in the constituency on the highest ever General Election turnout. In September 2015 she was appointed the first-ever Shadow Minister for Mental Health to serve at Shadow Cabinet level.
Luciana is a popular figure in the UK Jewish Community with a reputation for longstanding involvement in fighting racism and antisemitism.
Luciana said: "I am excited to be joining JLM's leadership team as the movement is preparing to mark its centenary of affiliation to the Labour Party. JLM has a key role to play in strengthening what should be a natural alliance between the Labour Party and the Jewish community. I look forward to helping nurture that relationship."
JLM National Chair Jeremy Newmark said: "It is fantastic to have a parliamentarian of Luciana's calibre as our new Parliamentary Chair. Her inspiring leadership will be another important building block in our work to enhance the role of JLM within the Labour Party."
Luciana recently joined JLM members to campaign for Sadiq Khan at one of our phone banks
Ivor Caplin to Chair JLM South East Region
After JLM’s successful re-launch earlier this year, we are now moving on to the next stage of changing the way we organise locally. These groups will be aligned with the regional structure of the Labour Party and work closely with regional boards and local CLPs in each region. We are pleased to announce that Ivor Caplin will be the first Chair of our new South East Region. Ivor was MP for Hove between 1997-2005. During this time he served in the Labour Goverment as a PPS, FCO whip and Minister for veterans at the Ministry of Defence. He was also the first Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on English Language Teaching. Ivor is actively involved in Brighton & Hove Jewish community where he currently serves as chair of their 250th anniversary celebrations.
Ivor Caplin, former MoD Minister & new JLM SE Regional Chair
Commenting on the release of parts of Baroness Royall's report, JLM Chair Jeremy Newmark said:
“Baroness Royall conducted a fair, balanced and rigorous process. She gained the trust and confidence of everybody she engaged with.
Her report is an incredibly important first step in addressing the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. It found a culture in the Oxford Labour Club that made many Jews feel unwelcome. It found that there had been a series of antisemitic incidents which are well evidenced. The report makes eleven key recommendations to the party covering areas which include training; incident reporting; and documentation. We look forward to working with the Party to ensure their swift implementation.
The Royall report also refers six wider and incredibly serious issues to the recently formed Chakrabarti Inquiry.
However, in deciding not to publish the entire report, the NEC risk contributing to the existing problem of denial of antisemitism in the party. I am deeply frustrated that the full report has not been published. I know that Baroness Royall is equally frustrated.
Nevertheless the NEC have today adopted a set of meaningful and important recommendations that begin to deal with the problem. The Chakrabarti Inquiry must now work to deliver a more complete solution.” ENDS
Note: JLM submitted a statement to the NEC that was read before the report was debated. In this statement we called upon the NEC to adopt and publish the report.
Baroness Royall has also blogged on her report exclusively for JLM here.
Daily Telegraph report here.
Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has commissioned an internal Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism within the Labour Party.
We publish below details of the remit/terms of reference for the Inquiry as released by the Leader's Office earlier today.
This is an independent Inquiry commissioned by the Leader. JLM is publishing these details in order to assist and encourage those of our members who want to make submissions and engage with the process.
(Please note that this Inquiry is separate from the Labour Party Inquiry commissioned by the NEC and led by Baroness Royall. That Inquiry is investigating a set of specific allegations of racism & antisemitism as well as some related wider issues. Baroness Royall is expected to report back to the NEC next week.)
I wanted to write to you as the Jewish community prepares to hold ceremonies to mark Yom HaShoah, the Jewish day of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust which took place this week.
In a world full of the evils of humanity, the Holocaust stands as the most evil act of all.
Hitler’s twisted ideology of hate, and the Nazi death machine he created, was designed to exterminate the entire Jewish people.
We must remember the Holocaust and honour those who survived it. The UK’s commitment to Holocaust memory and Holocaust education is a model to the world.
Part of that commitment to memory and education is standing steadfast against those who seek to deny or revise the history of the Holocaust itself – or the events leading up to it. Whatever their purpose. Whatever their agenda. Whoever they are.
But that memory can never be an excuse to ignore antisemitism today. It needs to urge us to be vigilant and to take action.
The date chosen for Yom HaShoah is the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, to remind us of those who took desperate action during the Holocaust, fighting against the Nazis while half-starved and in fear of their lives. If they had the courage to stand up, then non-Jews in Britain must follow their example.
Britain and the allies defeated the Nazis, but antisemitism survived. We still haven’t defeated it and we still need to fight it.
It survived in Poland, where Jews rescued from concentration camps after the War were attacked and hundreds were killed.
It survived in Iran, which held another disgusting cartoon contest a few weeks ago, denying and belittling the Holocaust and spreading hate further.
And it survives, most troublingly, here in the UK - In social media and dinner-table chatter; in our schools and in our universities, in our politics and in our parties.
I'm ashamed of the recent cases of antisemitism in my party. I'm working with the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish community to ensure that racists and antisemites have no place in British politics. Together with many colleagues I am backing the JLM proposals for tougher rules.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler’s hateful screed of an autobiography, he claims that Zionism is a scam. Jews don’t really want a state, he claimed. It’s just another Jewish plot to set up a “criminal base” from which to control the world. Much of the language of today’s anti-Zionism makes exactly the same claims.
The modern miracle of the State of Israel is testimony to Hitler’s ultimate failure, providing a refuge for Jews who fled the Holocaust and anitsemitism.
But Britain’s Jewish community is a testament too. The British Jewish community is vibrant, integrated, positive and gives so much to this country.
British Jews have worked to make the message of the Holocaust into something universal -- to fight all racism, to remember and prevent all genocide, and to have compassion on all refugees.
As Labour’s Deputy Leader, I will fight to ensure that Britain's Jews always feel safe as a key part of this country and my party. I will fight to ensure that Zionism is not used as a term of abuse. Or as a code word for Jews. I will fight to ensure that the right to Jewish national self-determination is preserved and respected. Jews are the target of antisemitism – but I will fight to ensure that they are not left to oppose it alone. I am committed to that fight. Whatever it takes.
Tom Watson MP
27 April 2016
Earlier today, JLM National Chair Jeremy Newmark made the following statement about events following the revelation that Naz Shah MP had posted antisemitic statements on Facebook some time before her election as an MP:
“Naz Shah is a politician who is clearly on a political journey, from a Respect firebrand in the choppy waters of local Bradford politics to the Labour Party. She courageously stood up to George Galloway’s bigotry at the General Election. However, her historic remarks and posting were repugnant and completely unacceptable.
Her contrition expressed over the past day seems to be genuine and sincere. This is part of that journey. We are optimistic that she will now take steps to deepen her understanding of Jewish identity. We do not ask or expect her to mute her criticism of the actions and policies of the Israeli government. We do ask and expect her to build upon her apology and contrition with a programme of education and action that includes standing up to anti-Semitism on the left and within the Palestine Solidarity Movement."
Shortly after this statement was released it was announced that Shah had been suspended. Jeremy Newmark commented:
"The suspension of Naz Shah by the Labour Party is fair and consistent. I hope it will provide the context for a programme of education as we, at JLM, have set out."
The Jewish Labour Movement, with help from supporters in the Labour Party will be proposing a change to the Labour Party rulebook calling for stricter rules and sanctions to be placed upon members who have made racist, antisemitic or islamophobic statements.Read more
JLM National Chair, Jeremy Newmark was interviewed by Sarah Montagu on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on 16 March 2016. The interview covered the question of antisemitism within the Labour Party.
A transcript of the full interview follows here:Read more
Yesterday evening, the Jewish Labour Movement wrote to the Woking Constituency Labour Party informing them of our intention to affiliate to the CLP under the provisions within the Labour Party Rule Book, with the specific intention of bringing forward a vote of no confidence in the CLP Vice-Chair at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Jewish Labour Movement is a Socialist Society, and has been affiliated to the Labour Party since 1920. One of our core values is to fight antisemitism, racism and all forms of discrimination and racial hatred. We would much prefer not to have to have that fight within our own Party.
We welcome the decision by the Party to suspend Vicki Kirby pending a full investigation, and will continue to pursue our affiliation to the Woking CLP. We hope that through this process, and through an honest and open debate within the Woking CLP, party members can decide whether or not our Party should be a space for these kinds of views.
To Party members who have expressed their support for Jewish Labour activists over the past 48 hours, we say thank you. To those Jewish Labour activists considering leaving the Party, we say stay.
We are not giving up on the Party of Barnett, Silkin, Mikado, Freeson, Shinwell, Lever Edelman and other towering figures of the Jewish left. We ask that you join with us in ensuring that the Labour Party does not give up on us.
Earlier today member of the JLM NEC met with Member of Knesset Hilik Bar.
MK Bar was in London in his capacity as Deputy Speaker, as part of an official Knesset delegation led by the Speaker, Yuli Edelstein.
The meeting with JLM, held in his capacity as Secretary General of Israel's Labor Party focussed on strengthening links between the two sister parties in the UK and Israel. A series of initiatives were discussed, including a visit to the UK of a delegation of senior activists from Israel's Labor Party later in the year. This delegation will spend time with younger members of JLM and develop links to enable deeper collaboration and joint campaign activity in the future.
MK Bar also updated JLM on Labor's current initiatives to progress the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians and expressed his view that Israel has many strong friends at all levels in the Labour Party.
JLM NEC Members with Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP
29 February 2016
House of Commons, London