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April 7, 2020 12:26 pm

New UK Labour Leader Outlines Concrete Steps to Fight Antisemitism in Party’s Ranks

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer speaking during the Labour leadership hustings at the SEC centre, Glasgow, February 15, 2020. Photo: Jane Barlow via Reuters.

The UK Labour party’s new leader pledged on Tuesday to step up efforts to fight antisemitism in its ranks and outlined several clear steps he would take to do so.

In an oped for The Jewish Chronicle, Keir Starmer wrote that dealing with the antisemitism problem in Labour “starts by listening.”

“If we are to restore trust, we must be open and transparent from the beginning,” he said.

“Over the coming days I will be holding talks with leaders of the Jewish community, including the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies, to talk about how we can work together to stamp out antisemitism from the Labour party — and indeed across the country — once and for all,” he said.

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Starmer also pledged full cooperation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into antisemitism in Labour, saying the party would provide “access to any politician or any member of staff they wish to interview.”

“I will also be requesting that a report on all outstanding cases of antisemitism within the party is on my desk by the end of this week and that there is a timetable for their resolution,” he noted. “Clear cases of antisemitism must be dealt with robustly and swiftly.”

Starmer added that “once the coronavirus pandemic is over and members of staff can return to work, I will be closing the Labour party’s offices for a day and inviting representatives of the Jewish community to come in and facilitate a day’s training on antisemitism.”

PoliticsHome reported that following a video conference between Starmer and Jewish leaders on Tuesday, the leaders issued a joint statement saying, “Keir Starmer has already achieved in four days more than his predecessor in four years in addressing antisemitism within the Labour Party.”

The group expressed hope for a “normal relationship with Labour” and said the talk was “a good start.”

“If the new Labour leadership continues in this way, we can work together to make the changes that will make Labour a proudly anti-racist party once again,” the statement added.

Starmer was elected Labour leader on Saturday, replacing Jeremy Corbyn, who was viewed by many British Jews as being personally antisemitic.

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