Labour's Anti-Semitic Followers Aren't Welcome in Brighton

(Spectator-UK) Warren Morgan - When Labour last came to Brighton for its annual conference, I heard statements recorded at a fringe event suggesting it was fine to question whether the Holocaust had ever happened. As leader of the city's council, I wrote a letter saying Labour would not be welcome back in Brighton if it failed to sort out its issues with anti-Semitism. Two years on, I have been forced out of the party I loved. The backlash against my message took me by surprise. I had been a member of the party for a quarter of a century. Jeremy Corbyn's vow to root out racism made me feel I was helping. Yet few of my fellow Labour members seemed to agree. For all my good intentions in speaking up for Jewish people who were afraid, months of emails, motions and unpleasant messages followed. Many of these messages came from the local party. They depicted councillors - including me and one whose husband is Jewish - as dancing rabbis and called for people to march on the local synagogue. Finally, a motion calling for me to resign passed by 40 votes to 2. Since Labour's 2017 conference, hundreds of examples of awful anti-Semitism have emerged. Some of those disciplined have been quietly readmitted. Those like me who have spoken out on anti-Semitism, however, have been pushed to the point of resignation or deselected. Perhaps the most damning indictment came when Labour Friends of Israel pulled out of this year's conference, saying their staff could no longer be subjected to the anti-Semitic abuse faced in previous years. It is clear that for some Labour members, the perceived role of Jewish people in the global economy and the actions of the Netanyahu government are things that every Jewish person should be held accountable for. Make no mistake: that is racism. You don't get to pick and choose the racism you stand up against; and being a member of a political party gives you a greater responsibility to challenge it, not a free pass to stay silent. The writer was Labour leader of the Brighton and Hove City Council from 2015 to 2018. He resigned from the party in February.

2019-09-27 00:00:00

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