Latest version of ‘ten pledges’ says it is intended to ensure ‘non-discrimination’ – but explicitly discriminates against at least one group of Jewish Labour supporters
Labour deputy leadership candidate Dawn Butler has tweeted her support for Open Labour’s so-called ‘Plan for Decency’:
This is the name given to what Open Labour says,
is in large part based on Jewish Labour Movement’s (“JLM”) submission to Labour race and faith manifesto consultation and the ten pledges that the Board of Deputies of British Jews
and which the group says “attempts to address some of the concerns raised about them”.
However, while Dawn Butler’s tweet said that she would continue to reach out to ‘other Jewish community groups’ and the Open Labour ‘plan’ demands that future Labour candidates sign a commitment to ‘non-discrimination’, the plan itself explicitly discriminates against at least one Jewish group of Labour supporters.
One of the plan’s clarifications meant to address ‘concerns’ says:
The concern that Labour should not be prevented from engaging with smaller groups within a minority group has been addressed by making clear that this is meant to only prevent engagement with fringe groups that are not committed to non-discrimination, such as Jewish Voice for Labour.
The document does not appear to define the ‘non-discrimination’ to which it thinks Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) is not committed. However, a JVL spokesperson said:
We regard the statement that JVL is “not committed to non discrimination” as utterly absurd. We abhor all forms of discrimination. This is clearly expressed in our statement of principles which informs everything we do.
It says: “Our mission is to contribute to making the Labour Party an open, democratic and inclusive party, encouraging all ethnic groups and cultures to join and participate freely. As such we aim to strengthen the party in its opposition to all forms of racism including antisemitism, broadening the party’s appeal to all sections of British society.
We take inspiration from the long history of Jewish involvement in the socialist and trade-union movements and in antiracist and antifascist struggles, including the anti-apartheid and civil-rights movements.
To exclude our more than 1000 members and supporters from debate is itself discriminatory.
Last month, both Dawn Butler and fellow deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon said that they would not sign up to the BOD’s list of demands, one of which also demanded the ostracising of JVL.
Butler said then that she wanted to wait until the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its report on the Labour Party and that getting Labour’s response right was too important to rush.
Burgon added that he had a number of concerns and wanted to ensure that all Jewish groups have a voice, including “minorities within a minority” – and his comments received a huge welcome from the audience of Labour members:
And in spite of tweeting that she would support the Open Labour ‘plan’, Ms Butler clarified to the SKWAWKBOX that her commitment to involving ‘other Jewish community groups’ includes JVL, whatever the plan might say about it.
Other issues with the original demands remain largely unchanged by the ‘Plan for Decency’, which with fifteen points instead of ten has added potential complications.
The SKWAWKBOX asked Open Labour to clarify what it means by ‘non-discrimination’ and how it thinks JVL is not committed to it. No response was received by the time of publication.
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