Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy CorbynReuters

The British Labour party has come under fire by the local Jewish community for scheduling a discussion on the anti-Semitism in the party on Shabbat.

The debate is expected to focus on streamlining the process of expelling Labour members found guilty of anti-Semitism.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed in July to give new powers to the party’s general secretary and a small group of National Executive Committee (NEC) officers to expel members guilty of anti-Semitism.

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) issued a statement on Twitter condemning Labour for excluding Jews from the debate.

“Time and again, the Party leadership and the NEC have demonstrated a complete failure in both judgement and commitment to tackle anti-Semitism. With a statutory investigation by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission well underway, this is the latest example of institutional failing,” said JLM.

“We have learnt tonight from press reports that the Party wishes to make sweeping changes to the disciplinary rules on anti-Semitism, without consulting us, its only Jewish affiliate, or any communal organization. To add insult to injury, they will debate these changes at conference on the Jewish Sabbath, when religiously observant Jewish Labour delegates will be silenced, unable to participate in the debate,” it added.

“The Jewish community has zero confidence that proposals to hand the NEC more powers on disciplinary matters will solve this crisis. There have been countless examples of NEC members either engaging in antisemitism or turning a blind eye to it. It will simply streamline the process of letting anti-Semites off the hook,” added JLM.

The Labour party has been shaken by accusations of anti-Semitism for several years, with dozens of members having been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements.

Corbyn himself has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views by senior UK Jewish leaders.

Much of the criticism against Corbyn is over his playing down the anti-Semitism in his party and alienating Jews, but he insists he is not an anti-Semite and claims he has opposed it his entire life.

In July, before he proposed the changes to the process of expulsion of suspected anti-Semites, Corbyn acknowledged that his party has an anti-Semitism problem.