UK Labour Party branch nixes motion condemning synagogue massacre

A local Labour Party branch vote in the U.K. rejected a motion condemning the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

By World Israel News Staff

Only two backed a motion in a local U.K. Labour Party branch to condemn the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in which 11 Jews were killed by an anti-Semitic gunman.

It focused too heavily on anti-Semitism they said, according to Steve Cooke, secretary of the Labour U.K.’s Norton West branch in Stockton North in northern England, who proposed the motion.

“It was said that all the focus was on ‘antisemitism this, antisemitism that’,” Cooke wrote in a Facebook post, “while other types of racism never even got a mention.

“I pointed out that I had presented a motion about Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism to the CLP [constituency Labour Party] in July and then our women’s officer Barbara Campbell and myself had organised a counterprotest against a far-right group (mainly members of Anne Marie Waters’ For Britain party) that marched in Stockton town centre later that month.”

“We condemn the terrorist attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which killed 11 people and injured several others on 27 October 2018,” the symbolic motion, which called for the “eradication” of prejudice, read. “We note that the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act is reported to have had a long history of antisemitic views and held a deep hatred for Jewish people.”

The gunman, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, killed 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue and wounded several police officers in what was the worst anti-Semitic attack on U.S. soil. Bowers was later arrested and faces the death penalty.

It was later revealed that Bowers had a history of posting anti-Semitic statements. During the attacked he said “All Jews must die.” Bowers also said he thought there were too many Jews around President Donald Trump, according to reports.

But his colleagues at the local Labour Party branch “wanted references to antisemitism removed from the Pittsburgh motion,” Cooke said, noting that of his earlier motions about Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism no demands were made to make them “more generic or to erase all mention of those specific types of racism,” when they came up for a vote.

The Jewish Voice for Labour condemned the local branch for failing to pass the motion.

“JVL is horrified that some Labour party members holding responsible elected office appear to be more concerned with their factional games than opposing antisemitism and condemning cold blooded murder.”