Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
Representing, connecting, and supporting Jewish people in Scotland

SCoJeC responds to
Glasgow Labour Statement on Antisemitism

 

18 May 2018

SCoJeC has joined the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council in welcoming a strong public statement by the Labour group on Glasgow City Council, endorsing the internationally accepted definition of Antisemitism, and calling for "real action [to] be taken to demonstrate that, beyond all doubt, there is no tolerance in the Labour Party for antisemitism – however it is expressed."

The full statement reads:

Glasgow is a diverse, multi-cultural city that welcomes people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. That diversity is its strength, and the Glasgow Labour Group believes that we must all do what we can to build a community in our city, where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

Antisemitism is a form of racism, and we must stamp out all forms of racism from our society. There is no place in either our city or our Party for hatred and intolerance, and we welcome the commitments of both the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, to tackling this pernicious form of hatred.

We know that antisemitism is about more than just hatred of Jewish people. Antisemitism manifests itself in other insidious ways also – including by denying the right of the Jewish people's self-determination, and ascribing blame for the actions of particular Israeli Governments to all Jewish people.

We recognise that the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council has taken the extraordinary step of expressing its concerns with respect to a particular political party. This step reflects, we believe, the hurt and anger caused by ineffective action on tackling this form of prejudice inside our party.

The Labour Party has, until now, not done enough to tackle antisemitism inside our own party. For this, we are sorry.

We welcome the commitments of the Labour Party's General Secretary to speedy action. We expect that commitment to be delivered, and we will judge that commitment against real action to ensure that the Labour Party's disciplinary process is fit for purpose, and deals with the outstanding cases of antisemitism expeditiously.

Real action must be taken to demonstrate that, beyond all doubt, there is no tolerance in the Labour Party for antisemitism – however it is expressed.

Glasgow Labour is proud of our record in promoting diversity and tolerance in our communities, but we know that we cannot rest and we are required to remain ever-vigilant. Antisemitism is antithetic to Labour's values. Eradicating this kind of hatred will require a process of education and a commitment to living our values of respect and dignity for all people, no matter their race or beliefs.

The Labour Party has already adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism – along with both the UK and Scottish Governments. Glasgow Labour affirm its commitment to that definition, and will support calls for Glasgow City Council to adopt it.

Towering figures such as Myer Galpern and Manny Shinwell, who have made such a difference to the lives of people right across Scotland and the whole United Kingdom, demonstrate the contribution that the community has made to the labour movement and our country. We are proud of that legacy.

Scotland is not immune from antisemitism, and we must continue to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters as we work to build that community of tolerance and respect.

Welcoming the statement, Nicola Livingston, Joint President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, and Ephraim Borowski, Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, said:

Jewish representatives with Glasgow councillors

On behalf of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, we very much welcome this strong statement from the Glasgow Labour group, which echoes the commitment of the Leader of the Scottish Party, Richard Leonard, to work with the Jewish Community to address the growing tolerance of antisemitism both within the Party and in society at large.

We particularly welcome the Glasgow Labour group's endorsement of the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism, which is already in use by the UK and Scottish Governments, the police, and others, and their call for the Party to take swift and decisive disciplinary action against those who have shamed it.

While we share their pride in the part that members of the Jewish Community have played in both the Party, the city, and the country, we also welcome their recognition of the unprecedented sense of hurt and alienation in the Jewish Community, and are heartened by their candid admission that neither Scotland nor the Labour Party is immune from this particular form of racism. Their statement acknowledges that both education and disciplinary action are urgently required in order to address its various insidious manifestations, and we stand ready to work with them in any way we can to bring about a society where there is truly is no place for antisemitism in any guise.

 

   
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