In the UK Parliament on Tuesday, Labour MPs led a debate on anti-Semitism, calling on the party to take a hard look at itself and the way it has responded to a range of anti-Semitic incidents. Over the course of 3 hours, MPs recounted shocking abuse that they have witnessed themselves and that they have had reported to them from others, calling on the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to ‘walk the walk’ and show ‘moral clarity’ on the issue. A consistent message was that Labour needs to get its own backyard in order.
From John Mann:
From Luciana Berger:
From Ruth Smeeth:
There were messages of solidarity and support on Twitter:
I never thought that I would experience #Antisemitism as a member of the Labour Party. But I have - and it has left me feeling an outsider in the party I have been a member of for over 50 years. To that I simply say, #EnoughIsEnoughhttps://t.co/uABh0NDoV4— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) April 17, 2018
Incredible speeches by @JohnMannMP & @RuthSmeeth in #Antisemitism debate - please read and understand the vile, disgusting abuse they have faced and their huge bravery in continuing to speak out #EnoughIsEnough— Liz Kendall (@leicesterliz) April 17, 2018
Searing, shaming, vital speeches by @lucianaberger @RuthSmeeth @IvanLewis_MP @margarethodge @IanAustinMP @MikeKaneMP @joanryanEnfield & so many others - speaking truth about the appalling reality of #antisemitism on the hard left & now, shamefully, in @UKLabour #enoughisenough— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_MP) April 17, 2018
Denial is not an option. Please watch this searing, powerful speech on #antisemitism from @lucianaberger - I have so much respect & admiration for Luciana’s incredible leadership & strength on this https://t.co/hbf5eRVPhJ— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) April 17, 2018
This is a hugely complex issue for Labour to unpack — not because anti-Semitism is in any way defensible, but because of how the left reconciles its position on Israel and Palestine with its need to root out inequality and abuse. It is clear that difficult and complicated conversations need to take place. The first step is to listen — and there is a lot riding on the action that follows.
(Header: Luciana Berger at last month’s demonstration against anti-Semitism, from Getty Images)