Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that he is still looking to meet with the Jewish organisations that have criticised his handling of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Responding to a letter from the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies, the Labour leader reaffirms his determination to “address the anguish and distress caused to many people in the Jewish community”.
He accepts a “responsibility to give a strong and continuing personal lead” in the fight against antisemitism within the party and more broadly.
Corbyn goes on to confirm that he is seeking an “early” meeting with the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies to address the concerns expressed by parts of the Jewish community.
The Labour leader suggests that new general secretary Jennie Formby would “value being part of such a meeting”, and says he would place “no limitations” on the topics discussed.
This the full text of Corbyn’s letter to the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies.
Dear Jonathan and Jonathan,
Thank you for your reply to my letter of March 26.
Let me straight away reaffirm that I appreciate and understand the anger you express, and reiterate my determination to fight antisemitism within the Labour Party and society at large. As Leader of this Party, I accept my responsibility to give a strong and continuing personal lead in this fight and – along with the General Secretary – I recommit to doing all I can to address the anguish and distress caused to many people in the Jewish community.
As I said in my reply to your initial letter, I would welcome an early meeting with your organisations to discuss the issues that you have raised. I am a strong believer that engaging in meaningful dialogue is crucial to finding effective solutions and resolving disputes and I am clear that such a meeting would be just the start of a fruitful ongoing exchange on eradicating antisemitic behaviour and discourse within the Labour Party.
It is my belief that such a meeting could easily be held without any preconditions, given that we are all on the same side as the essentials of the matter. In any event, my door will remain open to all Jewish organisations to discuss how to deepen our cooperation in the fight against antisemitism.
My offer to meet you unconditionally still stands. I place no limitations on the points you would wish to raise and am happy for the agenda to cover the issues you’ve already outlined. Our new general secretary Jennie Formby takes office today, and would value being part of such a meeting, as she will be taking immediate action to address many of the concerns raised around disciplinary cases.
I recognise the full legitimacy of raising concerns about antisemitism whether that is done by MPs or ordinary party members. I remain resolutely opposed to the abuse of MPs, or anyone else. While local Labour parties benefit from discussing current political concerns, such discussions should always take the form of comradely dialogue on understanding and compassion and should never be a forum for threats, intimidation or abuse.
Allow me to conclude by expressing once more my desire to cooperate with your two organisations in a spirit of partnership and goodwill to address the concerns of Jewish people in Britain, who will always be a cherished part of the labour movement and our wider national community.
Leader of the Labour Party