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Thousands sign open letter urging Long Bailey to reverse commitment to Board of Deputies' pledges

THOUSANDS of people are calling on Rebecca Long Bailey to oppose the 10 pledges advocated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) over fears that they seek to censor criticism of Israel.

By the time the Star went to print more than 3,500 people had signed an open letter declaring the BoD’s intervention to be “an outrageous political interference by an organisation that is overtly hostile to today’s Labour Party and everything it stands for.”

Among the initial signatories are a number of Labour councillors, four senior members of Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewish comedian Alexei Sayle, pro-Palestine journalist Asa Winstanley and Israeli expert on the Middle East Professor Moshe Machover.

The letter praises shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon and shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler for saying that they would not sign up to the pledges at a Labour leadership hustings in Liverpool on Saturday.

After the hustings, the BoD condemned the pair for their decision to not back the pledges, claiming that “no other minority would be treated that way.”

The open letter addressed to Labour leader candidate Ms Long Bailey, initiated by Labour Against the Witchhunt, urges her to reverse her commitment to the BoD’s pledges.

All five candidates to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader backed the pledges when they were published this month.

The letter to Ms Long Bailey says: “We address this letter to you, because, unlike Keir Starmer, you state that you intend to ‘stay true’ to Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘radical socialist vision.’

“The Board of Deputies is not the representative body for the majority of Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel — unlike the BoD.

“The BoD is a pro-Israel organisation. It claims, for instance, that the Palestinians in Gaza are ‘using its civilians — including children — as pawns’ in their fight against Israeli occupation and oppression.

“The BoD have supported every war, every attack launched by Israel. The BoD is not a neutral body, but one with an evident political agenda: to attack, weaken and destroy any opposition to systematic and brutal oppression of Palestinians by [the] Israeli government.

“The BoD encourages the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government (anti-Zionism), with anti-semitism (hatred of Jews).”

The letter says a number of the pledges call for “gross censorship” of Labour members and politicians, for Labour’s disciplinary process to be run by an “independent provider,” and for handing the deliverance of “anti-racism training” to the Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-zionist organisation affiliated with the BoD.

You can find the petition on this link here.


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