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Jewish Labour Movement condemns Harrow East Labour’s decision to affiliate to Jewish Voice For Labour

The group was set up to defend Jeremy Corbyn against claims of antisemitism within the party

Lee Harpin, Jewish Chronicle
26 June 2018


The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has attacked the “stupid decision” of Harrow East Labour Party to affiliate to the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Jewish Voice For Labour.

At the constituency Labour Party’s (CLP) annual general meeting on Monday, a near unanimous vote opted to affiliate to JVL, which was set up last year to defend Mr Corbyn against widespread claims of antisemitism within the party.

The move is likely to alarm Jewish voters in the Harrow East region, which includes both Stanmore and Belmont synagogues.

Local Conservative MP Bob Blackman saw his majority slashed at last year’s general election. The local Jewish vote, which makes up over 7 per of the electorate, could be crucial at the next one.

JLM chair Ivor Caplin told the JC: “The people who lose out from this stupid decision made democratically by the Harrow East CLP are the majority of Jews in the constituency.

“The choice they have at present is between a Tory MP who is somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan and a Labour Party that seeks to convince itself that antisemitism is a made up smear.”

“Former Labour MP Tony McNulty, and candidates Uma Kumaran and Navin Shah AM had always been excellent friends of the local Jewish community and made sincere efforts to build long lasting relationships.

“We expect the new parliamentary candidate to distance herself from this idiotic decision and make it clear that she chooses to work with and represent Jewish residents in the constituency rather than this obsessive group that is often far too generous to antisemites and Holocaust revisionists.”

He continued: “Harrow East is so marginal that votes of our community really do matter and may well make the difference.

“Like all Labour members, we want to rid Harrow East of Bob Blackman but this will not happen whilst the Labour Party indulges in fantasy politics that ignores, and in fact ridicules our local communities.”

Labour chose Pamela Fitzpatrick as its parliamentary candidate for Harrow East earlier this year. She was backed by John McDonnell, the left-wing shadow chancellor and ally of Mr Corbyn.

Labour lost the constituency in 2010. Uma Kumaran stood as the Labour candidate against Bob Blackman in 2015, but said she would not do so again after the Tory MP’s “unashamedly religiously divisive” campaign.

Leading figures with the JVL group have sparked anger amongst many in the Jewish community with a serious of controversial comments.

Amid the row over the Labour’s new lawyer overseeing complaints of antisemitism against members, JVL co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi said his critics wanted a lawyer who was “in the pocket of the Israeli Embassy”.

Last week, the JC revealed another JVL activist had parked (sic!) anger after complaining about the “privileging of racism against Jews” compared to discrimination “against black people, Muslim people and migrants”.

Harrow East parliamentary candidate Ms Fitzpatrick told the JC the decision to affiliate with JVL was a matter for the CLP to issue comment on.