'Labour’s official Jewish affiliate has threatened formal dispute proceedings against the party unless it accepts an international antisemitism definition in full, in a leaked letter seen by the Guardian.
In a significant escalation, Jewish Labour Movement chairs Ivor Caplin and Luciana Berger, MP Liverpool Wavertree, have written to members of Labour’s ruling national executive committee, accusing the general secretary, Jennie Formby, of misleading committee members.
Members of the JLM are said to have been outraged that the NEC apparently believed the Jewish activists had signed off the Labour version of the antisemitism definition.
That version has since been criticised by leading Jewish bodies, including the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, who say the party should adopt the full, internationally recognised version with all its examples.
JLM, the only Jewish group to be an official Labour affiliate, says it is prepared to enter into formal dispute with the party, which could be a precursor to legal action.
“It is our understanding that the NEC was informed by the general secretary that the Jewish Labour Movement had approved the three papers on tackling antisemitism that were presented yesterday. You were misled,” the letter reads.
“The papers were briefly shown to two JLM representatives over a short informal meeting; there was no pre-sight of the papers or opportunity to read them in full.”
Labour sources denied that Formby told the NEC equalities committee the definition was approved by JLM, but insisted she had only said that she had met the group to go through the proposed definition, which would then go back to Jewish groups for feedback.'
Read more: Labour Jewish affiliate in row with party over antisemitism code
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