Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Corbyn meets with Jewish representatives

So, the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews met with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Labour. They say they found Labour leader's response wanting.
After a meeting with Mr Corbyn, which lasted more than two hours, the organisations said in a statement: "We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn's proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested. 
"Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn's words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party."
The actual list of suggestions they presented to Corbyn which they feel he was unforthcoming on are as follows (my immediate thoughts in italics):
  • A fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases 
Why just anti-Semitism? Why not all cases? Fixed timetables are always problematic as cases can be problematic. If the timetable is not met, what happens? Is the member automatically excluded, or are charges dropped? I don't think that either outcome is really useful.
  • Expedite the long-standing cases involving Mr Livingstone and suspended party activist Jackie Walker
I agree Livingston has been allowed to fester. But this is outwith Corbyn's power. This lies with the NEC. The decision to suspend Livingston 'indefinitely' was taken by the former incarnation of the NEC under Iain McNicol.
  • No MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism 
Again, why the special rule for this particular offense? Why not racism or homophobia or just being scum? As it would apply to all members it could make something as simple as appearing on Question Time problematic. It would also hand power to the anti-Semites, who could effectively bar Labour MPs from appearing on any platform, just by being there. Far better to accept that there are times when MPs may have to share a platform with someone objectionable, and hold them very accountable for what they say.
  • Adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism
I probably wouldn't have a issue with that. It is a straightforward definition.  Some people don't like it as they feel it conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, but I don't see it.  If you can't manage to criticise Israel without coming across as a Jew hating lunatic, then you probably are a Jew-hating lunatic.
  • Transparent oversight of the disciplinary process
I'm not comfortable with the idea that internal Labour Party issues are to be made 'transparent' - does that mean public? There are all manner of issues around this. Remember that disciplinary issues can result in someone being cleared - having their reputation damaged by the investigation process would be very problematic. Remember what happened to Carl Sargeant? He didn't even have any allegations publicised.
As you can see, a lot of them rely on unacceptable special pleading or violate principles of natural justice.

I am interested to know if they have issued a similar set of demands for the Conservative party?  Surely they can't be saying there is no anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party, or that its provisions for dealing with it are flawless?

A stronger message would have been one the removed some of the special pleading and focused on all forms of racism or bigotry aimed at the individual; and one that was clearly expected of all parties.  Developing a 'Code of Conduct' for for all political parties to deal with complaints like this would have been more useful than what seems to be their politically motivated campaign to target Labour and Corbyn.

1 comment:

S.M. Stirling said...

It's transparently obvious that Corbyn is not prepared to do the only acceptable thing with Jew-haters in Labor's ranks: declare them radioactive, purge, and blacklist. And there is no forgiveness for this offense.

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