My Jewish Values Led Me To Join Labour - Being Jewish Now Gives Me No Choice But To Leave

As president of the Union of Jewish Students, I cannot continue to watch racism against Jews make headlines every single day
Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

This blog is an unedited version of a letter sent to the general secretary of the Labour Party, Jennie Formby, on Wednesday 12 September

Dear Ms Formby,

It is with sincere regret that I write to you today to resign my membership of the Labour Party.

My position as the President of the Union of Jewish Students means I cannot, in good faith, continue as a member of a political party which has deliberately and recklessly allowed antisemitism to emerge, and even more concerningly, flourish. I commend the efforts of many Jewish students who stay and fight for the party I still wish I could call my political home. However, both in my personal and professional capacity, I cannot give support or succour to a party which its own MPs consider to be institutionally racist.

I did not join the Labour Party to watch racism against Jews make headlines every single day. I joined to aid the plight of refugees in Europe and tackle the mental health crisis in our youth. These are causes that the Union of Jewish Students will be championing during my Presidency, following my election on a mandate of social justice and representation. These are the causes that are meant to also drive the Labour Party, but instead it seems more concerned with a battle between internal factions, rather than fighting for the very values it was founded on.

The party’s complete inability and lack of political will to tackle antisemitism, whether malicious or simply misguided, has rendered itself a shell of what Her Majesty’s Opposition should be.

The period between the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is traditionally a period for reflection and repentance. We look back at the past year, and forward to the year to come, and consider how we can better ourselves and the world around us. After a summer of rampant antisemitism in the Labour Party, a constant string of headlines and a debilitating online conversation surrounding Jewish people in this country, I have arrived at a point where I cannot see my future in this party.

However, I must take this opportunity to thank those who are speaking out against the severe and widespread problem of antisemitism. Most importantly, Labour Students, who have been allies of Jewish students for decades, and today is no different. These people are the true anti-racists.

The Jewish community stands united in opposition to antisemitism. It does not stand in opposition to one political leader, or one political party. Like so many others in my community, I do not leave the Labour Party because my politics or values have changed, rather because the Party has made clear through its actions that I am not welcome. Words mean nothing when the actions of so many speak louder.

I will continue to fight for a just and equal society, where racism is challenged and no citizen is left behind. However, I now know that the Labour Party is not the place where this battle is fought. My Jewish values led me to join the Labour Party, and now my being Jewish leaves me no choice but to resign.

Yours sincerely,

Hannah Rose

Former member, Hertsmere CLP and Bristol Labour Students, and president of the Union of Jewish Students


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