Lord Dubs: Labour’s slowness to act on anti-Semitism let it ‘fester’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Lord Dubs: Labour’s slowness to act on anti-Semitism let it ‘fester’

Jewish peer who escaped Nazis on the kindertransport accuses Labour of sluggishness in tackling Jew hate, but says Corbyn now 'doing okay'

Lord Alf Dubs (centre) speaking at Labour conference, at an event hosted by JCORE 

Photo credit: @JewishLabour on Twitter
Lord Alf Dubs (centre) speaking at Labour conference, at an event hosted by JCORE Photo credit: @JewishLabour on Twitter

Jeremy Corbyn’s initial slowness to act against anti-Semitism allowed it to “fester” in the party and Labour would not be rowing about it now if he had taken action more quickly, a highly respected peer has said.

Lord Dubs, who escaped the Nazis on a Kindertransport from Prague in the summer of 1939 when he was just six years old, said the Labour leader is now “doing okay” at tacklinganti-Semitism.

But as a new row over the problem threatened to overshadow the party’s conference in Brighton, the Labour peer warned “you’ve got to nip these things in the bud immediately”, noting “the Holocaust began with words”.

Lord Dubs said Labour is not anti-Semitic and blamed “discordant” voices, who made comments allegedly targeting Jews at a fringe event on Monday and on the conference floor on Tuesday, for the controversy.

But speaking to reporters after a Jewish Labour Movement fringe event on refugees, whose rights he has championed, the peer said: “I think initially the party moved less quickly than it should have done to deal with anti-Semitism, it just moved slowly and I think it’s sort of festered a little bit and I think it’s been dealt with.

“But I think it was a slow move, I think if the party had moved instantly then we wouldn’t be talking about it, I think the party moved a bit more slowly and then you’ve got Shami Chakrabarti doing the report and things began to take a turn for the better.

“But I think there was just a pause at the beginning when it didn’t happen and I think somebody has said, a lot of people have said, that the Holocaust didn’t begin in the gas chambers, it ended with the gas chambers, it began with words.

“That’s what we’ve got to bear in mind.

“You’ve got to nip these things in the bud immediately, I’m not saying there are going to be gas chambers in Britain but things get worse if you don’t deal with them immediately, and the Holocaust began with words.”

He also said Mr Corbyn was now dealing with he issue.

“I think initially when the issue arose about a year or two years ago, I think the party could and should have moved faster because you’ve got to nip these things in the bud, I think he’s doing okay since then,” he said.

“I think he’s well aware of the difficulty we’d be in if there was a hint of anti-Semitism about us and I think he will regret as much as anybody things that were said in the conference.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments