Labour must be the party of equality again
Cate Vallis, who is standing for election to the National Policy Forum, says the Labour Party’s decision not to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism flies in the face of our party’s values.
When I joined the Labour Party I made a conscious choice to join a party that held the same values as I did. A party that valued equality, social justice and opportunities for all.
The NEC has decided to change the definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition to one that says it is not anti-Semitic to accuse Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations; that it is not anti-Semitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany; and that it is not anti-Semitic to argue that the idea of a state for Jewish people is a racist endeavour. This flies in the face of the principles of the party that I proudly joined.
I would like to ask all members in Scotland standing for the NEC, NPF and SPF this summer – do you agree with the decision that means that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism does not apply to party members? Whilst NPF and SPF candidates would not have a chance to vote on organisational proposals it is important to know where candidates stand on equality as it will inform their approach to policy.
Myself, Suzan King, Adam Wilson and Moh Fern Hirani are standing to be your NPF representatives on, amongst other things, a platform of promoting friendly debate across Labour, encouraging members from across the party to input ideas and get involved in discussions and, most importantly, ensuring every member feels listened to and valued so that they are comfortable enough to contribute their experience to the policy making process.
If elected to represent Scottish Labour members on the National Policy Forum we will fight tooth and nail to prevent any Labour manifesto from seeking to change the UK government’s position on recognising the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
I am ashamed of our party’s decision to do away with the IHRA definition as used by the Scottish and UK Governments, the Crown Prosecution Service and local authorities up and down the country, but I know that this relatively small group of individuals who make up a majority of the NEC are not the party. Our party always has been and still is its members, members from across the trade union movement and society united by the values of equality, social justice and opportunities for all.
It is too easy to complain online; it is much harder to organise internally and return the party to the party of equality that attracted many members to join. Members who want to see the Labour Party be the party of equality again must organise at every level, to make sure that the people who represent us at the top of the party are truly representative of our values. To any members who are disgusted by the NEC’s decision – don’t get mad, get organised.