The Labour Party and its leadership has been the source of huge pain and great fear to Britain’s Jewish community, who have always been an integral part of the party. Jeremy Corbyn has set the most appalling example. Over the last four years Britain has seen the highest ever numbers of antisemitic incidents – showing a direct correlation to each stage and intensification of Labour’s antisemitism controversy. This issue cannot be minimised or denied. It cannot somehow be brushed under the carpet or glossed over as some sort of temporary aberration in the past. This new leader must finally take this problem seriously and demand the whole party and the entire membership does the same. The Jewish community are owed the most profound and heartfelt apology. Only with that and serious, rigorous action will the new leader be able to begin the process of restoring Labour’s reputation.
Issue a full apology to the Jewish community
On day one the Labour leader should issue a full and unequivocal apology to the Jewish community for the disgraceful way the party has behaved in relation to antisemitism and apologise and withdraw the Chakrabarti report, which was widely seen as an attempt by the Labour party to whitewash and deny the problem and was taken by the antisemites as a green light for their behaviour.
Withdraw all action against whistleblowers and issue a full apology to MPs and members
The new Labour leader should withdraw all civil action and complaints to the Information Commissioner against the whistleblowers and issue a full and unequivocal apology to all former Labour MPs and members who suffered abuse, harassment or intimidation for campaigning against the rise of antisemitism within the party or were hounded out. The Labour leader should extend an invitation to all to return to the party when they feel the time is right. The Labour leader invite Luciana Berger or Ruth Smeeth to stand as the Labour candidate in the first Parliamentary by-election in a Labour-held seat.
Set up a new independent complaints system
In the first week the Labour leader should commit to agreeing a timetable with the representative bodies of the Jewish community to draw up a new independent complaints process and committee to oversee its work together with a new mandatory educational training programme that commands their confidence and support.
Resolve outstanding complaints
All antisemitism complaints lodged since Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 election should be re-run under the new independent complaints process and the current backlog of cases should be cleared. A timetable for these investigations should be set out. The new leader should also publish Labour’s submission to the EHRC inquiry in the interests of transparency and full disclosure.
A candidate pledge for the IHRA definition
All candidates for, and members of, the NEC, UK Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and local councils must sign a pledge to uphold the IHRA definition. There should be no platform sharing by an MP, AM, MSP or Labour party official with any known anti-Semite or anyone expelled from the party for antisemitism.
Automatic expulsions and suspensions
There should be automatic expulsion for serious offences and a lower threshold for suspension.
Hold senior officials and staff to account
People who have failed to deal properly with the poison of antisemitism should no longer be employed by the Labour party. As a first step to restoring confidence the new Labour leader should dismiss those who have failed to deal with this issue adequately, from staff in the leader’s office down.
End antisemitism denial
Anti-Jewish racism should never again be dismissed as “mood music”. The Labour leader should condemn anyone who attempts to dismiss or diminish the issue of antisemitism within the party. The new leader should condemn and proscribe factions within the party, or any affiliated trade union, still denying the existence of anti-Jewish racism or perpetuating antisemitism and should ensure no Labour MP has any links to these groups.
Immediate action on specific cases
Peter Willsman must be removed from the NEC and expelled from the party. There should be a lifetime ban for Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker. And MPs, former MPs and candidates including Zarah Sultana, Aspana Begum, Jim Sheridan and Lisa Forbes, should have the whip removed and/or their membership suspended, pending an investigation.
Ending the demonisation and singling out of Israel
Under the new Labour leadership, Labour members will not demonise Israel, subject it to double standards, accuse the state of exaggerating or inventing the Holocaust, liken contemporary policy to that of the Nazis, deny Jewish people the right to self-determination or use antisemitic symbols to characterise Israel or Israelis.
There is no other foreign policy issue given anywhere near the amount of attention as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Labour will only be ready for government when the attention given to individual foreign policy issues is proportionate and the party is an honest broker on Israel-Palestine.