Muswell Hill Rabbi calls for better education on antisemitism after Haringey Labour suspensions
PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 September 2020
A Muswell Hill Rabbi says “there is a lot to learn” on understanding antisemitism following recent suspensions by Haringey Labour.
In the past two months, Cllr Noah Tucker (St Ann’s) and Cllr Preston Tabois (Tottenham Green) have been suspended by the Labour Party for alleged antisemitism.
Rabbi David Mason, of Muswell Hill Synagogue, said that although suspensions were a “step in the right direction”, issues of antisemitism were “endemic”.
He told the Ham&High the Jewish community has a “very wobbly, unsteady and difficult relationship with Labour and is seeking more “reflection, humility and understanding”.
“There’s been a real sense of a lack of care and a lack of awareness of how to relate to the Jewish community and how to understand terms of antisemitism,” Rabbi Mason said.
“I think there’s also been a lack of desire to be educated in it as well.”
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Rabbi Mason called for a “change of political culture” but said under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer the Labour Party had taken “incredibly positive steps” to tackle antisemitism, which had resulted in some Jewish people re-entering the party.
He warned, however, that the “factionalised, political atmosphere” inside Haringey Council, of which Haringey Labour is the ruling party, had resulted in people “losing context in how they treat identity”.
“I think there’s a clear sense that people are being suspended and dealt with, and that in itself is a good step in the right direction, but of course there’s a journey to go, especially here [in Haringey].”
The Labour Party member added that antisemitism is most visible on social media and he urged the political leaders of Haringey to visit Jewish communities and listen to their concerns.
Haringey Labour said it had contacted Rabbi Mason to set up a meeting and discuss how to better oppose antisemitism.
A spokesperson said: “Haringey Labour regularly meets with representatives of the Jewish community and we are committed to doing more to rebuild trust and confidence in our Party.
“The Labour Party is taking robust action to root out all forms of antisemitism from our Party and wider society.
“Haringey Labour does not tolerate any form of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, bigotry or hate-speech.”
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