The Labour Party’s annual conference is to begin this year with a rally “against racism and antisemitism” — a rally intended to “heal” deep rifts in the Party, despite being addressed by one of Labour’s most divisive politicians, the newly ennobled Baroness Chakrabarti.
The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has conducted brisk trade in statements condemning “racism and antisemitism” whilst simultaneously alienating Jews and tolerating brazen antisemites. What makes this latest development so astonishing, is that it is the Jewish Labour Movement, an affiliate of the Labour Party of nearly a century’s standing, which has invited Shami Chakrabarti to speak at their the rally, to be held in a pub near the conference.
The Jewish Labour Movement says the purpose of the rally is to “heal” and “redouble the effort to ensure antisemitism and racism have no place within [Labour]” — a stance that begs the question as to how any such healing can be possible when the wounds are wide open, with new injuries being opened up almost daily?
The Labour Party has become a political home of antisemitism and the Jewish Labour Movement has fought hard to save their Party from its grasp. Nothing has undermined that effort more than Shami Chakrabarti’s whitewash of a report which cleared the Party of antisemitism, a feat for which she was rewarded by ennoblement by Jeremy Corbyn to the very institution that he promised never to promote anyone to.
As a matter of policy we do not comment on the work of other organisations engaged in the fight against antisemitism, but in this case we must make an exception. The Jewish Labour Movement’s decision to invite Shami Chakrabarti to address a rally against antisemitism is misjudged to the point of surrealism. Indeed, the very idea that it is possible to hold a rally in a pub to heal antisemitism in the Labour Party is absurd because the Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, continues to deny that its antisemitism problem even exists. That is perhaps why the Jewish Labour Movement’s own poll of its members found that only 4% of them back Jeremy Corbyn in the current leadership election.
When antisemitism reaches the levels it now has within the Labour Party, the only effective strategy is to stand up and defy it with dignity.