‘Labour is toxic,’ says Jewish member as he quits the party

‘Under Starmer Labour is weaponising accusations of anti-Semitism to purge it of left-wingers’

Friday, 25th February — By Anna Lamche

David Rosenburg

David Rosenberg and Jeremy Corbyn

A KEY Jewish member of the local Labour Party has publicly given up his membership, accusing it of fighting a “phoney war on anti-Semitism” as a way of “removing left-wingers”.

David Rosenberg, a self-described “Jewish socialist” and author from Tufnell Park, has served as the political education officer on the executive committee of Islington North Constituency Labour Party (CLP) since 2017.

In this role, Mr Rosenberg “organised meetings on national and international political issues like housing, immigration and anti-racism” for Labour members. But, after five years on the executive, he said he has decided to leave the Labour Party entirely, releasing a statement about his decision to his 13,500 Twitter followers on Monday.

Under Sir Keir Starmer, Labour has become a “toxic party,” Mr Rosenberg wrote, accusing Labour of “cynically weaponising accusations of anti-Semitism for another purpose – to purge left-wing members.”

He said the “real tipping point” came when he discovered his “ideas and commentary, as a Jewish socialist, were being manipulated by disciplinary bodies in the party to help them exclude other left-wing members,” adding: “Non-Jewish left-wing Labour members were being accused of anti-Semitism if they ‘liked,’ shared or retweeted certain social media posts that I had written.”

Among other things, Mr Rosenberg also used his statement to criticise Sir Keir for his approach the Covid crisis and claimed the leader had said he had been “ditching practically every pledge he made” during his campaign to get elected as Jeremy Corbyn’s successor at the top.

The party’s treatment of Mr Corbyn, the Islington North MP, currently forced to sit as an independent in the Commons having had the Labour whip withdrawn, is another sore point. “One of the reasons I stayed in the party this long was to help the campaign to restore my MP to the Parliamentary Labour Party,” said Mr Rosenberg.

Sir Keir Starmer

“Corbyn remains in limbo and I do not believe there is any intention to restore the whip to him.”

Last week, Sir Keir said Mr Corbyn would not be able to stand as the Labour candidate in his constituency again unless he apologised for his response to a Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into how the party handled complaints of anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn said he had hoped the commission’s recommendations were acted on and that he opposed all forms of racism, but that the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

Sir Keir instantly suspended Mr Corbyn and said last week he has not spoken to him for a year. He had previously served as Labour’s Brexit spokesperson under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

The Jewish Labour Movement welcomed changes made by Sir Keir and said that members felt safer at last year’s annual conference in Brighton.

Some former members rejoined the party with Sir Keir welcoming MP Louise Ellman back.

Others, however, say they have been unfairly driven out or wrongly accused of anti-Semitism when criticising Israeli policies.

Mr Rosenberg’s statement has been retweeted over 1,500 times since it was published on Monday.

“The people I was closest to are sad I was leaving but completely understood my reasons,” Mr Rosenberg told the Tribune.

He said that despite multiple attempts to speak with Sir Keir, his letters have either met with “platitudes” or been “ignored”. He added:

“We are Jewish Labour Party members – that’s incredibly rude as well as dispiriting.

“It is a wrench to take the decision to leave – I won’t see people I had a close political connection to so often.

“At least, I won’t see them in Labour Party meetings. But I’m sure we’ll see each other a lot on protests and demonstrations,” he said.

“My general view is that things are not going to get much better within the party at the moment, and at the stage of life I’m in, I think I’d rather put my energy into activism on issues that are important to me, like the Nationality and Borders Bill and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill,” he said.

“Having taken the decision to leave, I do feel a sense of relative freedom.”

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