One of Britain’s biggest trade unions has unanimously passed a motion calling for antisemites, including those found guilty amongst its own membership, to “face the full force of the law.”
In a move backed by the GMB’s General Secretary Gary Smith, the union, which has 600, 000 members across nearly all industrial sectors, committed itself to a zero-tolerance policy on antisemitism.
Motion 213 was backed by the union’s leadership across the country during the GMB Congress in Harrogate, Yorkshire.
It stated: “This congress strongly challenges the disturbing rise in antisemitism across the UK.
“This unacceptable behaviour and the perpetrators should be subjected to the full force of the law.
“Where such behaviour may be present from any member of GMB Union, including social media posts, our Union should take immediate action to investigate and apply appropriate measures to address this within rule.”
GMB leader Smith, who has been deeply critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s failure on antisemitism, and made a point of reaching out to Jewish Labour activists, said after the motion was passed: “Antisemitism is a scourge in our society, and the GMB is clear that we won’t tolerate it.
“We stand firm against antisemitism in this union. There is no room for hatred in our union. Those who commit it should face the full force of the law.”
“We have to recognise antisemitism within our own ranks, and not be afraid to call it what it is. It flies in the face of our historic ties to the Jewish community – and in the face of what is right” said Smith.
Speakers in favour of the motion were applauded by delegates, including GMB Redbridge’s Stephen Jones, who warned that on occasion “anti-Zionist motivations” could stray into anti-Jewish racism.
Another speaker Unmesh Desai, a London Assembly member, warned that what started with hatred of Jewish people had historically turned into wider racist hate.
Speaker for the union’s executive committee Margaret Gregg spoke of the horror of seeing Jewish members afraid in the Labour Party under its previous leadership.
The motion on antisemitism, which was submitted by the GMB’s Redbridge branch, called for a review of current GMB policies for the handling of hate crimes and all forms of discrimination to ensure they are fit for purpose.