Why we are here

featured image thumbnail for post A message from our founder

A message from our founder

Why I founded Labour Against Antisemitism and why we will continue to fight

I founded Labour Against Antisemitism as a naïve but enthusiastic teenager during my final year of A-levels in February 2017. Back then I only knew a fraction of what I now know about antisemitism in the Labour Party, but the one thing I did know was that Labour had a problem. I was yet to realise the scale of the problem, but I did know that what was happening was wrong.

At the time I was in shock.

The Labour Party had always been the party of antiracism. Labour members prided themselves on opposing racism wherever it existed – and I was no different. But it became more and more apparent that Labour had a racism problem of its own.

For the first few months of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, largely oblivious, I followed politics on the news with interest without much political knowledge. I had never even heard of Corbyn until he stood to be Labour leader. I knew absolutely nothing about his political history. I knew little about antisemitism either.

But once Corbyn became leader, I began seeing more and more things that suggested there was a problem. I began seeing articles that exposed Corbyn for what he was. At the time, only a handful of people were actually suggesting that he himself was an antisemite - a viewpoint that is now widely accepted, not least by 85% of British Jews.

Things came to a head during the leadership contest in 2017.

I supported Owen Smith, in the hope that moderates could reclaim the Labour party. Unfortunately we all know what happened.

Corbyn’s position as leader of the Labour Party became more entrenched than it had ever been. At first, I felt despair, but then I got angry: I knew I had to do something. I began thinking – what made me most angry about Jeremy Corbyn? The biggest problem in the Labour Party was antisemitism, so I decided to do something about it.

I founded Labour Against Antisemitism in my bedroom with little more than a laptop and a sense of purpose, with no real experience of politics outside the occasional bit of door-knocking.

Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve reported over a thousand alleged antisemites to the Labour Party. These antisemites – anti-Jewish racists - have ranged from Labour members all the way to senior officials in the party. There’s been a mixture of Holocaust denial, neo-Nazism, and bizarre conspiracy theory - basically the worst, most appalling racism you can imagine. A number of the individuals we’ve reported have breached every single guideline of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and some have been reported to the police for hate crime.

Since day one our small team of unpaid volunteers have kept up the pressure on the Labour Party through reporting, raising awareness of the issue on social media, working with national and local TV, newspaper and radio media and so much more. Earlier this year we compiled and submitted a 15,000 page report to the EHRC investigation into institutional racism in the Labour Party; the outcome of which we are still awaiting.

We’ve become a go-to source for quotes and information on Labour antisemitism for major news outlets like Sky News and the BBC.

We’ve been featured in just about every major newspaper I can think of, we’ve been retweeted or used as a source of information by senior journalists including Laura Kuenssberg, and we’ve had spokesmen appear on TV and Radio across the UK.

We’ve become such a thorn in the side of the Labour leadership that Corbyn’s top adviser, Andrew Murray, even described us as “well dodgy” in leaked emails that were published in the Sunday Times. It must be extremely vexing to him that various news exposes (especially the recent Panorama documentary) have vindicated us and proven our case. It is the Labour leadership that are “well dodgy”, not us.

Since February 2017 we have achieved so much. But while an antisemite remains in charge of this country’s official opposition, there is no time to rest. Our work is exhausting and seemingly endless, but our purpose drives us on: to ensure that the politics of this country is free of antisemitism, not just for the present but for future generations as well.

Despite the criticism and abuse we receive for our direct, no-nonsense approach, we keep on fighting antisemitism in the Labour Party for one reason and one reason only.

Because it’s the right thing to do.