Keir Starmer and top shadow cabinet ministers went on a charm offensive while hosting Israeli Labor Party officials, including taking them door-to-door for local elections in Barnet, north London.
To underscore the contrast with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Starmer and Rayner hosted nine officials, including Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Chen Arieli, party chief executive Nir Rosen, and senior officials from the office of the Israeli leader.
The Guardian understands Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting hosted the delegation for dinner and the group also met Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and discussed campaign tactics with senior figures from the HQ. work, including the general secretary, David Evans, and the campaign manager. Morgan McSweeney.
Although they have long been “sister parties”, former leader Avi Gabbay cut ties with Corbyn in 2018 over the handling of anti-Semitism within Labour.
Once a dominant force in the country, Israel’s Labor Party has also experienced political turmoil, recording some of its worst results in multiple elections in recent years, despite now being part of the fragile governing coalition with a slight increase in the number of seats.
Jonathan Cummings, international adviser to Israeli Labor leader Merav Michaeli, said it was a ‘great relief’ to be in contact with the party and said they had been struck by the time the seniors had given them political leaders.
“Our main concern has always been anti-Semitism and the Jewish community – anti-Israel, anti-Zionism, it was almost a side issue. We wanted to be on the safe side, to support the community here,” he said. he declares.
Cummings said Starmer was delighted to see them join in shadowing London campaigners hoping to take the advice of Barnet, where Labor underperformed in 2018 compared to their overall results in London.
Jewish Labor activists had described encountering significant anger on the doorstep at Barnet in 2018. Party sources hope any gains will be a major story in next week’s election results to show how the party is progressing.
Starmer has repeatedly said he intends to rid the party of any anti-Semitic members, following the equalities watchdog report, which criticized the handling of complaints.
Corbyn was suspended from the Labor whip for his reaction to the report and Starmer also sacked his shadow education secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, for praising an interview comparing Israeli police tactics to murder of George Floyd. Both decisions drew heavy criticism from the left of the party.
Starmer has also shown an uncompromising attitude towards pro-Palestinian activism since being elected leader. He said he did not accept the conclusions of an Amnesty International report that Israel was an apartheid state. Its report found that there was “an institutionalized and prolonged racist oppression of millions of people”.
Michael Rubin, director of Labor Friends of Israel, said the visit was “an important milestone in rebuilding the deep and historic relationship with our sister party.”