Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Steve Reed has told Jewish community representatives that he is totally committed to ensuring “the rift between the Labour Party and the UK’s Jewish community is mended”.
Following an online meeting with the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust, he said: “I would like to thank the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust for meeting with me.
“As Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, I wanted to meet with representatives of the Jewish community very early in my tenure to assure them that I will do everything I can to ensure that the Jewish community feels safe and secure.
“We discussed the importance of local councils promoting community cohesion. We also discussed the importance of interfaith and inter-communal initiatives, such as those led by the Board of Deputies, as a way to promote greater understanding between different groups in our wider society, as well as the important work being done by the CST to help keep people safe – experience they are now offering more widely to other communities, who sadly have need of it.
“I repeated Keir Starmer’s apology to the Jewish community for Labour’s failure to tackle antisemitism and my determination to see swift action against those responsible for it in our party. I gave my assurance that I will do whatever I can to combat those who seek to promote or excuse antisemitism anywhere in our society and will be writing to all Labour’s local government leaders to ask those who have not yet done so to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism in full and with all its examples including reminding them not to support actions that seek to delegitimise the State of Israel.
“I am totally committed to playing my part to ensure the rift between the Labour Party and the UK’s Jewish community is mended.”
Speaking on behalf of the Jewish delegation, Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “We appreciate the time taken by Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, Steve Reed, to meet us at this early stage. His commitment to encouraging Labour’s local government leaders to adopt the IHRA definition and examples as well as stressing the importance of dialogue rather than boycott from local councils is an important first step in rebuilding Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community. We also discussed our interfaith and intercommunal initiatives and the various challenges they face, as well as the importance of keeping our community safe while helping all in our society to feel secure. Steve’s recognition that words alone are not enough and that there is a long way to go in order to restore Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community is encouraging and we look forward to working with Steve to put his positive words into action.”