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British Jewish group withdraws support for Labour

October 31, 2019 at 2:36 pm

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), which has been a member of the British Labour Party for over 100 years, has announced that it has withdrawn campaign support for the party in December’s General Election.

The move, said the JLM, is in protest against the Labour Party’s handling of allegations of anti-Semitism.

“We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our parliamentary chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the parliamentary Labour party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us,” said the JLM in a media statement. “We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour-held seats.”

The JLM is a somewhat controversial organisation, having been exposed as a “proxy for the Israeli Embassy”. It claimed that “a culture of anti-Semitism has been allowed to emerge and fester in the Party at all levels” since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015.

Corbyn is a well-known campaigner for Palestinian rights; he is also known to be an ardent anti-racist.

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Nevertheless, the JLM alleged that Jewish Labour MPs have been “hounded” out of the Labour Party. Its statement reiterated the view that the Labour leader — who has promised to lead an election campaign in support of traditional Labour values against one of the most extreme right-wing governments in British history — is “unfit to be Prime Minister”.

Candidates viewed by JLM to be “exceptional” will be the only ones offered support and assistance during the weeks of campaigning before the 12 December General Election.

The group’s Parliamentary Chair, Ruth Smeeth, was the only MP named in the statement as meriting the JLM’s support.

The Jewish group’s decision to withdraw its support for Labour comes at a critical time for the British left. It is likely to lead to the accusation that the group’s internal battle with Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn is more of a priority than defeating the Boris Johnson-led Conservative government.

It will also prompt questions about its ties with the Israeli Embassy, which has been at the centre of a campaign to bring down pro-Palestine MPs.