For the JC April 2021
The general secretary of Britain’s Labour Party, David Evans, and his opposite number in Israel, Eran Harmoni, have held a warm and friendly online meeting — the first between the two sister parties in more than four years.
The meeting, also attended by Labour Friends of Israel chair Steve McCabe MP, was the first formal meeting between senior officials in both parties since Israeli Labor’s decision to suspend relations with Jeremy Corbyn, then the UK Labour leader, in March 2018. It marks an important moment on the path towards a full restoration of relations.
Mr Evans said: “I was delighted to meet Eran Harmoni, in what we hope marks a new era of relations between our two parties.
“I expressed my personal sorrow for the grief and pain that the failure of the Labour Party to tackle antisemitism has brought to Jewish communities here in the UK and within Israel.
“It will take time to rebuild trust, but I am delighted that we have taken our first steps to rebuild this vital sister party relationship. I look forward to working with Eran and the Labor Party on restoring and re-energising our long, historic cooperation.”
Mr Harmoni, in response, said: “The wind of change in the British Labour Party is a great opportunity to begin to re-establish the fruitful connection and co-operation between our parties”.
Both parties, he said, “share common values and can join forces in the battle against racism, antisemitism and prejudices and would be the right and just thing to do after the problematic era of Labour under the previous leadership”.
Mr Harmoni said it had been “heartwarming” to hear Mr Evans’ “sincere apologies” for what had previously taken place inside UK Labour, and he welcomed “the unprecedented practical steps the British Labour Party has taken since Keir Starmer’s election. I am looking forward to our shared promising future.”