This morning’s Sunday papers are full of the alarming news that one in three British Jews is considering leaving the UK. The news is the product of a survey by YouGov, who more or less called this year’s shock general election result correctly.
YouGov’s survey reveals that only 59 percent of Britain’s 270,000 Jews feel welcome in the UK – a remarkable and depressing statistic. Most worryingly of all for those on the left of British politics, the survey further reveals that three quarters of Jews living in Britain believe that the Labour Party “harbours” antisemites.
Many European Jews have already left the continent due to fears of prejudice. Often the refuge they seek is Israel – the only Jewish state in existence. This was a state the Labour Party took pride in helping to found, in the years that followed the attempted extermination of European Jews by the Nazis.
Would the modern Labour Party of which I am a member be willing to do the same today? I hope so. The fact that so many British Jews think the Party is a safe haven for antisemites, however, suggests they would be unlikely to look to Labour to repeat its earlier support. And this is a foreboding thought.
Of all the left-wing UK blogs on the web, it seems Labour Vision is the only one to take a proactive and explicit line against anti-Semitism. There are plenty of British left-wing blogs out there whose editors seem willing to offer tacit approval to vile conspiracy theories about the Jews. LabourList certainly doesn’t allow space for conspiracy theories, but it is limited by its inability to take strident editorial lines on controversial Labour Party matters.
A coordinated campaign is therefore needed from within and without Labour to ensure that our party is once again seen as a rallying point for Jews in fear of oppression. The focal point for such a campaign remains the Jewish Labour Movement, whose first conference will be held on September 3rd in London. The details can be found here. You don’t have to be Jewish to join, you simply have to be a Labour member.
I sincerely hope that the woeful statistics released by YouGov today serve as a wake-up call to any Labour members who are complacent about the need to stand up for oppressed minorities. As for any Labour members contributing to the awful perception Jews have of our party, the words of Leo Amery, once addressed at a flailing Neville Chamberlain ought to heard:
You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!