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Labour regains trust of British Jews who left the party

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From the day Keir Starmer became Labour leader in 2020, he made repairing relations with British Jews a priority, calling anti-Semitism a “stain” on the Labour Party.

On Thursday, many British Jews who deserted the Labour party in the 2019 general election gave it another chance, winning back several north London constituencies with large Jewish populations.

Nearly half of Jewish voters plan to support Labour in Thursday’s election, according to the poll of 2,717 Jewish adults. Jewish Current Affairs Survey This was taken in June, before the election.

Britain has 287,000 Jews, less than 0.5% of the population, some of whom were politically homeless under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was accused of Let anti-Semitism flourish in the party. According to the Jewish Policy Institute, which focuses on Jewish life in Europe, Jewish support for Corbyn’s Labour Party fell to a low of 11% in the 2019 general election.

“It’s clear that Jews have flocked back to what I think for many has long been their natural political home,” said Jonathan Boyd, executive director of the London-based Jewish Policy Institute.

Sarah Sackman was the Labour candidate in Finchley and Golders Green in North London, where nearly one in five voters are Jewish, the highest proportion of Jews in the UK. Labour candidates also won in Hendon and Chipping Barnet in North London, where 14% and 7% of voters are Jewish respectively.

Josh Simmons, a Jewish Labour politician who was elected to the British Parliament on Thursday to represent the Makefield constituency west of Manchester, said Labour’s victory in north London showed Jewish voters were willing to trust the party again.

“The transformation of the relationship between the Labour Party and the British Jewish community has been quite remarkable,” Simmons said, noting Starmer’s willingness to expel Labour politicians who made anti-Semitic comments. “The Jewish community saw the choices he made and, little by little, began to rebuild trust.”

Starmer, who calls himself an atheist and whose wife Victoria comes from a Jewish family, has said his family occasionally attends a liberal synagogue and told Virgin Radio he leaves work at 6pm every Friday night. Conservative politicians have criticised him for wanting to be a part-time prime minister, but Starmer has stood by his comments.

“I think anyone would understand that in certain religions and beliefs Friday night is very important,” he said at a campaign event in Derbyshire, England.

In 2020, the British human rights watchdog released a report that found the Labour Party responsible for “unlawful harassment and discrimination” against Jewish members during Corbyn’s administration, and Starmer expelled Corbyn from the Labour Party. Complaints against Corbyn include his Defending a mural featuring a grotesque caricature of a hook-nosed Jewish banker.

Corbyn, who initially suggested Labour’s anti-Semitism problem was exaggerated, later issued a statement saying “the vast majority of Labour Party members were and are staunchly anti-racist and deeply opposed to anti-Semitism.”

Labour’s support among Jewish voters has soared, and the party appears to be British MuslimsSome of them criticised Mr Starmer for taking too long to commit to recognising an independent Palestinian state.On Thursday, at least four constituencies in Labour strongholds were won by candidates who presented alternatives to Labour’s Gaza policy.

Shaukat Adam Patel, an independent candidate in Leicester, England, defeated Labour candidate Jonathan Ashworth, who was expected to take a cabinet position in Starmer’s new government. “This is for Gaza,” he said. Corbyn won his parliamentary seat from Labour as an independent candidate in Islington on a platform focused on Gaza.

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