Starmer reiterates commitment to ‘root out’ antisemitism in conference speech

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Starmer reiterates commitment to ‘root out’ antisemitism in conference speech

Labour leader was introduced by former MP Ruth Smeeth who said the 'trauma of the last few years will begin to heal' after five years of Jeremy Corbyn

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference.

Sir Keir Starmer reiterated a commitment to “root out” antisemitism during his first speech to a Labour conference as leader.

Addressing the party virtually in Doncaster, delivered without an audience due to coronavirus, he was introduced by Jewish former MP Ruth Smeeth, who lost her seat in December.

Smeeth, who is Vice Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and its former Parliamentary chair, was a leading campaigner against antisemitism in the party, and cited its failure to tackle Jew-hatred, and Brexit, as reasons for her loss.

Introducing Keir, she said the new leader has “already demonstrated that our party is under new management”, adding that the party is “determined to eradicate the stain of antisemitism. No ifs. No buts.”

“It has been difficult to be Jewish in the Labour Party in recent years. We lost too many friends who were bullied out of the party and too many people who have been hurt by visceral racism which should have no home in our movement.

But under Keir’s new leadership I know that the trauma of the last few years will begin to heal.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer arrives with Ruth Smeeth, to deliver his keynote speech during the party’s online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.

Thanking Smeeth for an “incredibly powerful introduction” he reflected on “how hard the last few years have been for you”.

Starmer said: “As I promised on my first day as leader we will root out the antisemitism that has infected our party. We’re making progress – and we will root it out, once and for all.”

He stressed that “this is a party under new leadership” and urged voters who had deserted Labour to take a fresh look at it.

He stressed that: “Racial inequality is one of the causes that brought me into politics. And the eradication of structural racism will be a defining cause for the next Labour government.”

Smeeth received a standing ovation in the Commons for a speech detailing the antisemitic abuse she received in 2018.

Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour became only the second party, after the British National Party, to be subject of an investigation by the the Equality and Human Rights Commission, over alleged institutional racism.

A spokesperson for the Jewish Labour Movement said: “We’re pleased and proud to see Keir Starmer choose Ruth Smeeth to introduce his keynote speech. It’s another clear signal that he means business when he says he wants to tackle Labour’s antisemitism problem.”

“We lost too many friends who were bullied out of the Party and too many people who were hurt by a visceral racism that…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎The Jewish Labour Movement‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 22 בספטמבר 2020


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