I have been a local resident in SE23 for the last 6 years and often followed SE23LIFE but this is the first time I have posted. I hope my post meets the guidelines and I will be happy to ammend it should it not.
It is seeing the below story in Jewish Times which has finally made me feel I should go public with my experience of witnessing what I believe to be an institutional problem with antisemitism in Lewisham West and Penge Constituency Labour Party (CLP). I should add I am not a member of the Labour Party or any other political party for that matter.
A couple of years ago in the run up to the general election I was approached by a Labour activist canvassing on London Road. I expressed my concern to her at the time about what I felt was a problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. To put this in context Ken Livingstone had made grossly offensive comments and a Jewish MP had been shouted down at the launch of a report into anti-semitism by a person who would later be shown shaking Jeremy Corbyn’s hand at same meeting. The Labour activist who I spoke to stated she had seen no antisemitism in the Labour Party, defended the person who had shouted down the Labour MP previously mentioned and took a condescending approach to me. I left it at that
In the run up to the local elections last year I then noticed a person declaring himself a committee member of Lewisham West and Penge CLP posting grossly offensive and what I believe to be antisemitic remarks on Twitter. I understand that the following may be upsetting for people to see but I believe that it is important for people to see them to understand the extent of the problem. It should be noted that protect the identity of those involved I have removed the twitter handle of the said individual an those replying to him. Nevertheless the antisemitism in his comments speaks for itself.
There are several other examples but I can only add 3 images per post.
In light of this I made a complaint to the Labour Party in May. I understand through a 3rd party that this member has been suspended but still nobody from the Labour Party complaints department has contacted me as of yet. I have no idea how long such a suspension is due to last or if further action is being considered against this member.
In October 2018 I attended an open meeting of Lewisham West and Penge CLP where the local MP was taking questions from local residents. One of the members of the audience who raised concerns regarding antisemitism in the Labour party was essentially shouted down. I raised concerns with a local member about antisemitism only to be told that it was that there wasn’t an antisemitism problem and it was ‘all really about Israel/ Palestine anyway.’
I have always felt that with better training and understanding the local Labour Party could address its issues. In proposing a motion to ban the very training which could assist with this I am left dispondant and actually fearful and that the anitsemitism, itself, has become institutionalised.
I appreciate SE23 Life is politically neautral. I respect that and understand that my post may be subject to moderation. I nevertheless feel that it is of such importance that I should no longer remain silent on the issue and the residents of SE23 should be aware of it.