Attached below is the text of a submission to Shami Chakrabarti’s report into alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party. It was submitted yesterday June 1st 2016 by a group of Jewish Labour Party members who include members/supporters of Jews for Jeremy, JFJFP, IJV, Jewish Socialists’ Group. There are currently 97 signatories.
Here is the text:
Submission to the Chakrabarti Inquiry
This submission has been drawn up by a group of Jewish Labour Party members who have been active within human rights organisations, anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns and training, refugee support, education in a range of contexts and at all levels, and have been involved in a range of Jewish organisations and projects such as: Jewish Socialistsʼ Group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Independent Jewish Voices, Jewish Cultural and Anti-Racist Project, Jewish Music Institute, Friends of Yiddish, Kehillah North London.
Our submission is relevant to all the terms of reference of the inquiry, but we focus particularly on those aspects that aim to:
• understand and address antisemitism in the wider context of racism in general;
• provide the most effective context for training on these issues at all levels of the party; and
• ensure that Jewish people are welcomed and integrated into the party alongside other minorities.
We feel strongly that the education and training of Labour Party members and officers on issues relating to antisemitism must be the responsibility of an inclusive and progressive Jewish group that is able to meet the demands of this role because it would be positively focused on Jews in the Labour Party here in Britain.
Before this Inquiry was announced, a number of us had been discussing the need for such a representative group as a permanent element within the Labour Party. The events during the run-up to the local and Mayoral elections, and the establishment of the Inquiry, have encouraged us to address this more urgently. With our long, deep and broad range of experience, we intend to help form such an inclusive group, along the lines stated in the following proposal.
Proposal on Jewish representation in the Labour Party
We wish to see the setting up of a broad-based organisation which can become a “Jewish Section” or an affiliated organisation of the Labour Party.
It will be open to all Jews who are members of the Labour Party.
Its guiding principles will be rights and justice for Jews everywhere without wrongs and injustice to other peoples anywhere.
Welcoming the fact that Jews are an international people with communities in many countries, its outlook will be internationalist and anti-racist and it will link the interests of Jewish people with those of other minorities and oppressed groups.
While individual members of the new group may have particular attitudes towards or connections with Israel/Palestine or any other country, it will not impose on its members a stance on proposed solutions to conflicts in the Middle East; instead it will encourage a free and respectful exploration of the issues from Labour/socialist perspectives, and will reserve the right to criticise any regime on the grounds of human rights violations.
Its purposes will be to:
• provide a platform to represent the concerns and interests of Jewish members at all levels of the Party;
• campaign against antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination, and assert a progressive Jewish identity as part of multicultural Britain;
• strengthen links between Jews and other ethnic minorities in Britain;
• uphold and continue the long tradition of Jewish involvement in struggles against oppression and for social justice, both locally and globally;
• act as a cultural and social hub, which can share the cultural resources of Jewish members and organise social and cultural events as well as political forums in which issues can be freely debated from various viewpoints;
• seek support for the Labour Party among the wider Jewish community.
Its constitution will affirm that its primary allegiance is to socialism and the values of the Labour Party.
Such a section or group would expect to be consulted by the Party leadership and the National Executive Committee where issues directly concerning Jewish members arise.
It would also expect to fulfil a training role in the Labour Party, and act as an advocate in cases where disputes arise concerning Jewish matters.
We do not feel that the Jewish Labour Movement (known until 2004 as Poʼale Zion, Workers of Zion) is the correct vehicle for this role because it has an explicitly Zionist constitution, is committed to promoting “the centrality of Israel in Jewish life”, and requires that its members adhere to a particular view of the Israel/Palestine conflict and Zionism. In doing so it excludes a large proportion of Jewish Labour Party members, including many of the signatories to this submission. We believe our Jewish perspective has a natural home in the Labour Party, but would not wish to sign up to the constitution of the Jewish Labour Movement, nor would we be welcome to join it.
If you wish to see the signatories, they are contained in the pdf below.