Saturday, January 29th | 27 Shevat 5782

December 28, 2021 2:08 pm

Over 90% of UK Labour Jews Believe Party Leader Is Serious About Fighting Antisemitism, Poll Finds

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

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

Over 90 percent of members of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) believe that the current leader of the British Labour Party is serious about purging antisemitism within its ranks, and 70 percent believe Labour is now safe for Jews, according to a recent poll.

The left-wing party was wracked by antisemitism scandals for half a decade under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, a fervent opponent of Israel and Zionism who the overwhelming majority of British Jews considered an antisemite.

Keir Starmer took over after Corbyn led Labour to electoral disaster in 2019, and has made the fight against antisemitism a major goal of his leadership.

A poll conducted by JLM in October and shared Monday found that 91 percent of members “trust that Keir Starmer is genuinely trying to tackle antisemitism.”

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Seventy percent said that Labour is “a safe space” for Jews under Starmer — a major contrast to Corbyn, under whose leadership only four percent felt the same — while 88 percent agreed that “the Labour Party has made positive changes to its policies, processes, rules and culture on antisemitism over the past year.” In addition, 74 percent indicated that complaints of antisemitism will be taken seriously by the party.

JLM members also found a silver lining to the long struggle against antisemitism in the Labour Party, with 70 percent agreeing that attention to the issue has “reinforced the importance” of their own Jewish identity.

The poll is the largest of its kind thus far, with 400 members surveyed and 200 non-Jewish supporters included as well.

Responding to the findings, a senior source in Starmer’s office told Jewish News, “Keir promised in his first act as leader to rip out antisemitism by its roots. His unwavering commitment to that has led to renewed relationships with Jewish communities.”

“The progress made is welcome, but the faith of Jewish people in the Labour party as a safe political home must be earned and we will never be complacent about it,” they added.

Mike Katz, the national chair of JLM, said, “Our members are clear: Keir Starmer has made the Labour Party feel like a safe place for Jews once again. The vast majority trust him to tackle antisemitism in the party and think the party reforms he’s introduced will make a difference.”

“For our Jewish members, the difference between Corbyn’s Labour and Starmer’s is like night and day,” he continued.

“This doesn’t mean that there’s not still a huge job to do in tackling antisemitism on the left and rebuilding trust between Labour and the Jewish community,” Katz cautioned. “But this shows what a strong start Starmer has made — and how all Jews can trust him and his team to root out antisemitism.”

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