A special message of thanks
A statement from our Jewish Directors
After Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, there was an influx of new members into the Party to support him. Very quickly there was a noticeable increase in overt hostility to the Jewish community within CLPs and in Labour-supporting social media groups, both officially linked to the Party, and “freelance” operations.
Labour Against Antisemitism (LAAS) was started by Labour members to combat what they recognised as the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment in the Party. It remains a voluntary organisation which has always put fighting antisemitism as its main aim above all else, and above any other allegiances within the Labour Party.
LAAS has always had one aim - to eradicate antisemitism from the Party and become a redundant organisation. With the Party now under a new leadership team, and with the EHRC report due in the next few weeks, we are hoping that in the not too distant future, our members will be able to put the last few years to one side and return to their previous lives.
The public face of LAAS has centred upon Emma Feltham, Euan Philipps and Denny Taylor; none of whom are Jewish. It might therefore surprise you to know that approximately 70% of our membership are Jewish (and half of the directors), and we have members in all regions of the country and in very many social media groups, who have provided our reporting team with the information and knowledge needed. We have an immaculate track record of protecting our members’ confidentiality.
Frankly, it is impossible to put into words what the Jewish community owes these three anti-racists. The incessant abuse that they have faced from antisemites and their enablers (both within and outside the Labour Party) was, we guess, unsurprising – although we did not anticipate that the police and local authorities would have to be informed of specific threats so many times.
To be mired day after day in racist filth; to be attacked, gaslighted and sea-lioned constantly; to know that you are putting family, relationships, professional, and educational commitments at risk because of the dedication needed for this cause; to have those who achieved little in the fight against antisemitism attacking you to cover for their own failure – all of these have had their effects on even the strongest people. In these conditions it is no surprise that language might coarsen. We would argue that our members have shown great patience given the challenges and opposition we have faced, and continue to face.
The Jewish Directors of LAAS want to state publicly that we will never be able to thank properly these members of LAAS (and its very many active members). We know what you have gone though. We have seen the pain and the hurt you have endured, and yet not once have you deviated from the moral path that you started when you created this fantastic organisation. You are heroes to us and to the vast majority of the UK’s Jewish community. We are proud to have worked alongside you, to be friends with you, and to know that the bonds forged during these terrible times are unbreakable. You are our generation’s “righteous gentiles”; you knew what the right thing to do was, and you ploughed ahead without once caring about the risks that you were taking.
We are lucky to know you. We will never forget you. And we remain in your debt.