| Mike Katz |
|Alma mater||Magdalen College (Oxford)|
Mike Katz is National Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.
On 29 May 2019, Mike Katz wrote on his Facebook page:
- My piece for Today's Times Red Box on yesterday's announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that it was taking up the referral made by the Jewish Labour Movement and others to investigate the Labour Party for institutional anti-Jewish racism.
- It was a day of shame for a Party founded to fight prejudice and inequality - especially as, for so many Jews, it was for do long considered our natural political home.
- The EHRC has strong legal powers to compel disclosure of evidence and break non-disclosure agreements without penalising individuals.
- If you want to help us uncover the truth, but were worried about political reprisals, please come forward and tell us what you know - email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reposted on Medium
Katz reposted the article on Medium:
Only two political parties have ever been have investigated at the highest level by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. One of them was the fascist British National Party. Following yesterday’s announcement by the Commission, Labour has joined an exclusive and wholly undesirable club.
The Jewish Labour Movement – the Party’s sole Jewish affiliate – has been warning for years now that the party is facing a crisis of anti-Jewish racism. We referred Labour to the Commission – with a thousand-page dossier of evidence – as a last resort. Calling the party that we’ve been affiliated to for 99 years, a party that many of us have been working for and with for decades, institutionally racist was difficult but necessary.
For a party founded on the principles of equality, tolerance and fighting fascism this is a tragedy. For a party to whom much of the Jewish community has always looked for fellowship and solidarity, it is a betrayal. We’ve seen clear evidence of political interference, from the highest levels within the Leader’s office, to ensure that action wasn’t taken against antisemites because they were political allies.
We’ve seen the party’s ruling body trying to redefine anti-Jewish racism, with the Leader seeking to caveat a definition which has been accepted by government at all levels here and around the world. We had seen countless opportunities to engage with the asks of the Jewish community’s leading bodies, and those JLM discussed with General Secretary Jennie Formby on her appointment, spurned.
At every stage, JLM has tried to be an honest broker with the Labour leadership. All we’ve asked for is actions not words. But instead of action, all we’ve had is the same tired excuses, the same obfuscation and denial; whilst the Party becomes an ever-more hostile environment for those of us who point it out. For JLM members, our Jewish values and our progressive values are intertwined. Those values – my values – haven’t changed. But our party has changed around us.
In short, why does someone who believes sick conspiracies like “Jewish Israelis” were behind 9/11 or someone who accuses Jewish Labour MPs of being in the pay of Israel think that today’s Labour Party is their natural political home?
So, as much as the policies and process matter, that’s why we say this is an institutional crisis of leadership and culture. And why we called in the watchdog. We know the rank and file of the Labour Party are aghast and shocked at this behaviour. They want this to change but the majority are not in control, and the people who are in control don’t want to take the decisive action to change things. Until that changes, nothing will change.
The Commission will be able to compel testimony and access any evidence it requires. Whether by breaking non-disclosure agreements of former staff; or ordering the release of documents, emails and messages, we are very confident that they will find wrongdoing that needs to be put right. We’re also confident that we have submitted which has come to light so far will be just be the tip of the iceberg. So, I’d say to anyone within the Party who has been witness to institutional racism but has been concerned about coming forward because of political retribution: now is the time to do so.
Yesterday, many people wondered why the Party that never got around to expelling Ken Livingstone took just a matter of days to chuck out Alastair Campbell. It can act when it wants to. This makes its institutional inaction over anti-Jewish racism all the more damning. The Commission must shine a bright light into the dark corners of the Party and its leadership, and hold people accountable, if Labour is ever able to truly call itself an anti-racist Party again.