Labour Party leadership candidates respond to Board of Deputies questions

In the run-up to the Labour leadership contest, Gilllian Merron, the Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has written to both Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith to ask for their views on the issues that the UK Jewish community is concerned about.

Below is the letter we sent to both candidates and also their replies.

As you are aware, the Board of Deputies of British Jews is the democratic representative body for the UK’s Jewish community. We are the first port of call for Government, the media, and others seeking to understand the Jewish community’s interests and concerns.

We are writing to both candidates in the Labour leadership election to highlight issues that the Jewish community is concerned about.

Antisemitism and the Chakrabarti Inquiry Report

The Labour Party has become a worrying place for Jews due to recent incidences of antisemitism at all levels of the party. Despite the release of the Chakrabarti Report, the Board of Deputies is concerned at the Report’s lack of ambition. Such concerns are detailed in our official response, which is accessible here.

The Report makes some notable steps towards strengthening the Labour Party’s response to antisemitism, however in many respects it does not go far enough. It does not do enough to explain and counter the history of antisemitism on the left or explain how support for terrorist organisations can be antisemitic. It also does not specify quite how anti-racist training might be delivered.

We ask that you ensure the full and speedy implementation of the existing report and commission a credible supplementary paper (or similar) to amplify, clarify, and address these gaps and concerns. We produced a detailed submission to the Chakrabarti Inquiry, with further detail on what that should entail.

A Jewish Manifesto

Last year, we produced the first ever Jewish manifesto, which you can access here. The manifesto includes an extensive range of Jewish issues including religious freedom, antisemitism, Israel, education, social care and social action. The manifesto also includes a list of the community’s top ten ‘Policy Asks’, which we have encapsulated into the Ten Commitments.

We would ask for your pledge on our Ten Commitments. Please let me know if you would like to discuss this further. I look forward to hearing from you.

All good wishes

Gillian Merron,

Chief Executive


Read the reply from Jeremy Corbyn MP here.

Read the reply from Owen Smith MP here.

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