Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay have been elected as the new co-Leaders of the Green Party, which may herald fresh impetus in the fight against antisemitism in the Party.
Ms Denyer, a councillor in Bristol, and Adrian Ramsay, a former Deputy Leader of the Party, replace the outgoing Sian Berry and her co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, who stepped down earlier in the summer.
Ms Denyer has been a consistent supporter of the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the Green Party, which is the only major party in the UK not to have adopted it (in addition to the Party’s branch in Scotland, the Scottish Greens). However, notwithstanding goodwill on the part of its leaders, the Party would be reliant on its membership to back the adoption, which members have thus far been reluctant to do.
In a hustings, Ms Denyer observed that antisemitism within the Party would not be fixed overnight but insisted that “we need to take a clear and consistent line against antisemitism” and to ensure that the Party is more welcoming and inclusive, with workshops for members and a better resourced disciplinary committee to review antisemitism complaints. She also reiterated her and Mr Ramsay’s support for a motion at Party conference to include antisemitism guidance in the Party’s constitution. That guidance would include the International Definition of Antisemitism but, controversially, also other definitions.
The Denyer-Ramsay ticket elaborated on the issue of antisemitism in a response to a questionnaire from the Jewish Greens. They reiterated their support to the inclusion of the Guidance on Antisemitism being included in the Framework for Ethics and Conduct, inclusion of which is to be debated at the Party’s conference this month. They also committed to the principle of “nothing about us, without us” when talking publicly about issues relating to liberation groups, and pledged to attend antisemitism training and support its role out across the Party.
They further declared that “We have a particular priority in our first 100 days to support the Party’s liberation and policy groups to facilitate workshops and training (e.g. the Jewish Greens’ antisemitism training roadshow)” and that “We also believe that it is important that liberation groups are consulted on policy,” pointing to Ms Denyer’s having co-proposed a motion to this year’s Party conference that “would give liberation groups the right of reply on conference motions that affect their members.”
Although we welcome these commitments and look forward to working with the Green Party’s new leadership, the structures of the Party are such that the flexibility of the leaders to introduce new policies on antisemitism and overhaul the Party’s deficient disciplinary processes is limited.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We congratulate the newly elected leaders of the Green Party and look forward to working with them on tackling the increasingly worrying issue of antisemitism in their Party. However, our recent experiences with the Party’s disciplinary processes give us ample reason for concern, and its new leadership has an uphill battle ahead. For our part, we will continue to support any officials and members in the Party who wish to fight antisemitism, and hope that the new leaders will join us.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has extensively documented alleged antisemitism among officers of the Green Party of England and Wales, including the Party’s former Equalities and Diversity Coordinator who now holds the International Coordinator portfolio, on which the Green Party has failed to act.
Recently, we revealed how certain policies of the Scottish Greens (the Green Party branch in Scotland) are cause for concern for the Jewish community, including the Party’s opposition to the International Definition of Antisemitism and other controversial items. Consequently, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is under growing pressure over the SNP’s recent deal with the Scottish Greens.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.