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West Hampstead Labour councillor slams antisemitism in Hampstead and Kilburn branch

PUBLISHED: 17:47 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 24 February 2018

Phil Rosenberg

Phil Rosenberg

Archant

A West Hampstead Labour councillor believes a culture change is necessary after he spoke out about “obsessional Jew-baiting and Israel bashing” in the Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party.

Cllr Phil Rosenberg said he has been forced to speak out due to the toxic atmosphere in his local branch.

He said he wasn’t blaming individuals, but a “toxic” atmosphere has been created which has lead to increased antisemitism.

“I have unfortunately faced antisemitism before from some people in the Labour Party, however I’m not attacking individuals at this point, but there is a culture of people egging each other on and thinking it is okay,” he told the Ham&High.

According to him, at seven of the last nine meetings the Kilburn Brent Branch of the party has tabled “toe-curling motions singling-out Jews and Israel.

Outside of his role as a Labour representative, he is also the Director of Public Affairs, at the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

He is not re-standing for his West Hampstead seat, however he has said to some Labour members are returning to the Dark Ages.

“The ‘ritual humiliation of the Jews’ must come before any competing business. Especially that of our MP daring to try and involve us in the work of making our area better.

“If that is not institutional racism, I don’t know what is.”

Cllr Rosenberg made his initial remarks in an article for the Times of Israel.

On Wednesday February 21, the constituency party passed a symbolic vote to strip the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) of an award it received from leader Jeremy Corbyn, for campaigning within the party.

He told the Ham&High that while he has support within the group, a culture change is needed.

“There has been a lot of support. People spoke up at the meeting and said how disgusting it is. However we need people to speak up from all sides of the party.”

He has since heard from Mr Corbyn’s office and from the central Labour Party about their concerns, and hopes action will be taken.

“We need a culture change and it means involvement from people who can’t be written off as being from one faction or another.”

The Labour Party have been contacted for comment.

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