Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham told a Board of Deputies meeting in Manchester on Sunday that he hoped the Labour Party has finally understood that antisemitism needs to be dealt with decisively.
Speaking to a full meeting of the Board of Deputies at Manchester Town Hall, Mr Burnham, who received a standing ovation, said: “It is inconceivable to me that a party which has prided itself on its record on racism could have become in embroiled in an antisemitism crisis.”
He added: “Racism needs to be dealt with firmly, quickly and decisively. I’m afraid that this hasn’t been the response so far and I hope from this point forward this has been understood.”
In answer to a question from the floor, Mr Burnham said that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn does still have his support “but that support is not unconditional or unchallenged”.
Mr Burnham was presented with a commemorative book by Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region President Sharon Bannister to thank him for his work for the community.
The meeting was part of the Board of Deputies’ annual regional weekend, held this year in Manchester in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Representative Council. Deputies attended Friday night dinner at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation, where they were addressed by the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Jane Black. On Shabbat, Marie van der Zyl spoke at Manchester Great, New and Central Synagogue, Vice President Edwin Shuker spoke at Share Hayim Sephardi Congregation, Chief Executive Gillian Merron spoke at Sh’arei Shalom Synagogue and Treasurer Stuart MacDonald spoke at Manchester Reform Congregation, Jackson’s Row.
Around 80 Deputies attended the weekend’s events.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “It is very special to be in Manchester on this centenary weekend, which was the first place I visited immediately after I was elected President. The vibrant Jewish community of Manchester is hugely respected throughout the city and the strength of its institutions is a matter of great pride.”