The British Labour Party faced fresh allegations of anti-Semitism on Friday after party members in Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s constituency passed a measure rejecting claims of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the organization.
The Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP passed the motion by 45 votes to 35, Jewish News reported.
The motion read: “We call on the NEC [National Executive Committee] to release a statement firmly rejecting the accusation that Labour is in any way ‘institutionally racist’, making it clear that Labour and its current leader have a proud record of fighting racism.”
The motion also called on the NEC to “immediately implement trigger ballot procedures” in all Labour-held constituencies “in order to allow the party membership to decide who should represent them in Parliament.”
According to an eye witness, some of the constituency’s Jewish members were “extraordinarily upset” and left “in tears,” The Jewish Chronicle reported. The source told the newspaper: “I just don’t understand why it was necessary. We have a lot of Jewish members. Obviously, it was going to cause a lot of people a lot of upset, and that’s what it did.
“There were a lot of people in tears. Some said they wouldn’t be coming back again.”
Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, urged the NEC to investigate the motion and added: “This is disgraceful. What on earth is going on in Hackney North Labour that such a motion can be put forward?”
Miriam Mirwitch, the Jewish national chair of Young Labour, added: “This is motion is heartbreaking.
“Our movement has a proud history of Jewish socialists and fighting antisemitism. It’s a history we’re sadly forsaking. Solidarity with Jewish activists in Hackney North CLP and with everyone who voted against this disgraceful motion.”
Abbott was present at the meeting but failed to speak against the motion. When approached later, a member of her office said she was unavailable to comment on the decision.
Abbot is a leading ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who “personally” intervened this week to prevent the suspension of Labour MP Chris Williamson from the party over a pattern of hostility toward the Jewish community.
A motion passed in the Sheffield Hallam CLP on Thursday night expressing solidarity with Williamson, who it claimed has been “falsely accused of antisemitism.” The motion passed by 40 votes to one.
Abbot also has a history of denying the existence of anti-Semitism within Labour. Last year, she characterized the charges of anti-Semitism within the party as a “smear campaign” against Corbyn. She made similar remarks two years earlier.
[Photo: PaulNUK / WikiCommons ]