Is Jeremy Corbyn an Anti-Semite? It No Longer Matters

One of the more interesting takes:

A lot of things about Britain today are what psychologists might describe as complex. Brexit? Don’t get me started. The social care crisis? A mess. Addressing the climate emergency and homelessness? Neither is straightforward.

Labour’s anti-Semitism problem doesn’t belong in this category. No venerable commission of experts is required to deliberate at length and produce an authoritative report on what to do. You don’t have to balance weighty arguments on both sides. This should be easy: Zero tolerance; one strike and you’re out.

And yet for reasons on which we can only speculate, it hasn’t been simple for Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader’s failure to get a grip on anti-Semitism prompted an extraordinary intervention this week from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who normally stays removed from politics. Corbyn has tried to dismiss the complaints and change the subject to the National Health Service, but his record is impossible to ignore. It now threatens to contribute to a “Never Corbyn” vote that takes the Dec. 12 election away from the battleground of inequality where Labour would prefer to be fighting — something that might ease Boris Johnson’s path to Downing Street.

It is striking that Her Majesty’s Opposition is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over anti-Semitism. Nine Labour MPs have quit in protest over Corbyn’s leadership on Brexit and anti-Semitism. The Jewish Labour Movement says there are more than 100 outstanding cases of anti-Semitism the party hasn’t investigated, a figure Corbyn disputes.

Corbyn himself has shown a disregard for the message his own actions convey. His scorn for Western imperialism, his criticism of the Israeli state and the the sea of Palestinian flags at Labour Party conferences all create an impression of bias he does little to dispel. Nearly half of Jews say they would “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn were elected, according to a poll by Survation commissioned by the Jewish Leadership Council, while 87% believe he’s an anti-Semite.

A BBC investigation in July featured former party officials who claimed that senior Labour figures interfered with a supposedly independent disputes office on the issue. Each time the problem bubbles over, Corbyn has the same response: All racism is evil and wrong and his party won’t tolerate it. But it has.

Whether or not Jeremy Corbyn himself holds anti-Semitic views is now beside the point. All of this has happened on his watch. Either Corbyn is unable to deal with the problem, which suggests he lacks the leadership skills to do so, or he doesn’t regard it as the grave problem that nearly everyone else does. Either way his position is untenable.

In a remarkably tin-eared televised interview with Andrew Neil this week, Corbyn refused to apologize for anti-Semitism within the party and claimed he’s doing everything possible to tackle it. Such claims, wrote the Chief Rabbi, are a “mendacious fiction.”

Mervis couldn’t have been blunter when he said the “very soul of our nation is at stake.” He wasn’t out on a limb here either. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Hindu Council of Britain all released statements of support. It may now be incumbent on members of a minority group, or any voter who cares about minority rights, to shun Labour at the polls — although it must be said that Johnson’s Conservatives have had their own troubles with charges of Islamophobia. The Tory leader, who has compared burqa-wearing women to bank robbers and letterboxes, apologized on behalf of this party on Wednesday.

It’s impossible to say how the anti-Semitism row will affect an election that’s primarily about Brexit and public services. Jews make up about half a percent of the U.K. population and, of course, don’t vote as a block. A closely watched YouGov poll released Wednesday night, using methodology (known as MRP) that was remarkably accurate in 2017, predicted a Tory majority of 359 to 211 seats for Labour, a substantial gain for Johnson.

The YouGov projections have the Conservatives comfortably holding heavily Jewish Finchley and Golders Green in London, but puts the Labour vote more than eight points higher than another recent poll in that constituency and so may be overestimating the Jewish support for Corbyn’s party. In another area with a significant Jewish community, Chipping Barnet, the YouGov poll has Labour and the Tories even, but data scientist Abigail Lebrecht suspects the Labour vote may be overstated there too.

There’s also some evidence from focus groups by Tory tycoon and pollster Michael Ashcroft in leave-voting areas that the anti-Semitism charges may be hurting. People might not cast their votes on Dec. 12 on the issue alone, but it has an impact on how voters view Corbyn and the Labour brand.

Corbyn has been a pivotal figure in modern British history without ever being in government. Had another leader been at the helm of the Labour Party over the past four years, Leave might not have won the Brexit referendum in 2016 (remember Corbyn was largely AWOL during the Remain campaign he supposedly supported). If not for his unpopular leadership and radicalism, Labour would probably be mounting a serious challenge to form a majority government after nine years of Tory rule.

Britain certainly wouldn’t be embroiled in a discussion of anti-Semitism. Corbyn has put the word on the radar. “A year ago people didn’t know what anti-Semitism was,” says James Johnson, who conducted hundreds of focus groups for former prime minister Theresa May. “If you brought it up people were unsure. They thought it had something to do with Jewish people and racism but weren’t clear what it means. Now people know what it means. They know Corbyn is associated with it.”

Corbyn’s indulgence of anti-Semitism has at least heightened public awareness. What impact it has on the vote two weeks from now is hard to separate from Brexit and other issues. But it’s certainly damaged the Labour brand and raises serious questions about how long Corbyn’s leadership can last.

Source: Is Jeremy Corbyn an Anti-Semite? It No Longer Matters

UK’s Labour Party spars with BBC over charges of anti-Semitism

Ongoing train wreck (the Conservatives have the same problem with anti-Muslim attitudes):

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office interfered in independent party discipline processes aimed at rooting out anti-Semitism, the BBC said on Wednesday, a claim that the Labour Party sharply rejected.

A BBC investigation spoke to former Labour officials who said top party figures, including Corbyn’s communications director Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had minimized complaints of anti-Semitism against party members.

Labour said the accusations were “deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public”.

Labour has battled accusations of anti-Semitism since 2016 and Corbyn – a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights – as well as other senior party officials have been criticized for failing to take decisive action to deal with it.

British Jewish groups have accused Labour of becoming institutionally anti-Semitic, and the issue has played a part in Labour’s failure to take electoral advantage of the Conservative government’s turmoil over Brexit.

The BBC quoted an email from Milne telling Labour’s internal complaints team that “something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism”.

Labour said this misrepresented Milne’s email, which referred to a dispute between Jewish Labour members with Zionist and anti-Zionist views. A fuller extract of the email read: “If we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism.”

The BBC investigation also quoted former party members who felt a hostile atmosphere toward Jews within the party in recent years, who were sometimes challenged over Israeli government actions by other party members.

Nine lawmakers quit the party this year, citing the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism as well as its stance on Brexit as reasons for leaving.

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said the BBC investigation showed that Corbyn was either “wilfully blind to anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic himself”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who is frequently critical of Corbyn, said he was “shocked, chilled and appalled” by the allegations in the BBC report.

Labour’s press office said the party was “implacably opposed to anti-Semitism,” and that some of the former officials quoted by the BBC had “personal and political axes to grind” against Corbyn.

Britain’s Conservatives face regular accusations of hostility toward Muslims. On Monday broadcaster Channel 4 published a survey of 892 Conservative Party members by pollsters YouGov which showed that 56% believed Islam was a general threat to Britain’s way of life.

Source: UK’s Labour Party spars with BBC over charges of anti-Semitism

Australia: Labor should let hope prevail on refugees, shadow minister Andrew Giles says

Post-election positioning. Even the government seems to have turned down its pre-election rhetoric as seen in its apparent abandoning some of its citizenship proposals (Whatever happened to the ‘Australian values’ citizenship bill?):

Public sentiment on asylum seekers has shifted, and Labor must use the looming parliamentary term to “give Australia’s hopeful side a fair chance to prevail over the politics of fear, and division” according to the shadow minister for multicultural affairs, Andrew Giles.

Giles will use a speech to Australian Fabians on Wednesday to argue the recent community debate around the medical evacuations bill, and the tone of the federal election, suggests Australians are over the toxic politics of border protection, and are fatigued by the “false binaries and unnecessary aggression” from the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton.

The Victorian leftwinger will say it was notable that border protection, and the “demonisation of asylum seekers” did not feature front and centre in the 2019 federal election, which is unusual compared with previous federal contests. “I’m not sure if we can quite characterise this as something to celebrate, but it is a significant development – something to build upon.”

Giles says the “noise” of the hyper-partisan conflict over border protection policy that has raged in Australia since the Tampa standoff “has crowded out both a reasoned and reasonable exchange of ideas, and the voices of those whose lives are directly affected by the policy choices we make”.

Source: Labor should let hope prevail on refugees, shadow minister Andrew Giles says

UK: How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

Valid approach that applies more broadly that antisemitism/anti-Zionism. But hard to implement as it requires some compartmentalization:

An announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that it is launching a formal investigation into antisemitism in the Labour party is one more sign that the controversy cannot be addressed by internal procedures alone. Was it ever solvable through the party’s own efforts? There was a time when I thought it might be.

Even before Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party in September 2015, there was deep disquiet in sections of the British Jewish community about what was perceived as his tolerance for Islamist terrorist groups. Following his election, repeated instances of antisemitic comments in the burgeoning Corbynite grassroots further stoked alarm. The attempted coup against Corbyn’s leadership in June 2016 deepened the problem, with non-Corbynite Jewish party members (and those within the Jewish Labour Movement in particular) becoming the focus of anger from some who supported Corbyn’s transformation of the party.

There has been no shortage of efforts to address this situation. There was the Chakrabarti inquiry in June 2016 and repeated statements by Corbyn and others condemning antisemitism. There have been meetings, both confidential and announced, between Jewish communal leaders and the Labour leadership. There have been rule changes and bureaucratic restructuring intended to improve the party’s disciplinary procedures.

For years I’ve been advocating dialogue as a way to address the crisis generated by antisemitism within Labour. For a long time my working assumption was that hardcore, unrepentant, unredeemable antisemites in the party were a tiny minority, but there was a much bigger group that fell into antisemitic language occasionally or out of ignorance. The first group could not be dialogued out of existence – only expelled – but the larger group might be open to education. What was crucial was to engage those Corbynites who had no history of antisemitism and might be able to exert influence on others. I did have some hope that, through hard work and trust-building, it might be possible to reach some kind of understanding between those who lead the Labour party and Jews concerned about antisemitism.

Not only has nothing worked, but efforts to fix things have themselves deepened the controversy. Meetings between Corbyn and Jewish community leaders have been tenseand incomprehending affairs. Institutional investigations and reforms are either seen as a whitewash from the Jewish side (as with the Chakrabarti report) or as an unacceptable compromise with them (as in the 2018 adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by the Labour party national executive committee).

Now, with Jewish support for Labour dropping like a stone and accusations that the party is institutionally antisemitic, antisemitism in the party has not gone away and the political dispute over it is worse than ever. There is no reason to think that the EHRC will end the dispute, whatever its findings – things are just too far gone for that.

So what next? There is a way back, but it’s going to take a radical rethinking of what anti-racism means.

We got into this mess in the first place because sections of the left have never been able to reconcile themselves to the fact that the majority of British Jews are Zionists in some shape or form, either self-identifying as such or supporting the principle of Israel as a Jewish state. That fundamental bewilderment, that sense that Jews should know better, has been combined with a love of that significant minority of Jews who are not Zionists. Groups such as the Corbyn-supporting Jewish Voice for Labour, which is largely made up of Jews who reject Zionism, tacitly encourage the sentiment: “Why can’t all Jews be like that?”

Given that the divisions between Jewish Zionists and anti-Zionists are very much out in the open, it is all too easy to pick and choose the Jews one listens to and to damn the rest.

I am not one of those Jews who would argue that members of Jewish Voice for Labour are not really Jews and should be shunned by non-Jews. But there is no way around the fact that, intentionally or unintentionally, they encourage the fantasy that all you need to do to oppose antisemitism is to draw close to those Jews with whom you are in sympathy. This fantasy has exposed under-discussed questions about how anti-racism should express solidarity with minorities who are subjected to racism: what happens when those minorities, or significant sections of them, hold to politics with which you don’t agree? And what happens when those minorities treat those politics as non-negotiable parts of their identity?

Too often, anti-racism on sections of the left is predicated on wilful ignorance about what the victims of racism actually believe. Jews have a way of forcing the issue: our overwhelming (but by no means total) embrace of Zionism has been so public that it cannot be avoided. This has presented a quandary to those who see themselves as supporters of the Palestinians: how can the victims of racism be racists themselves? The way out of that has sometimes been to deny that Jews today constitute a group that can suffer racism at all (other than perhaps at the hand of good old-fashioned Nazis); we have been subsumed into white privilege. The result has been that progressive movements increasingly find it difficult to include Jews who do not renounce Zionism, as the controversy surrounding antisemitism in the Women’s March in the US has shown.

The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity. Anti-racism must become unconditional, absolute, and not requiring reciprocity. Anti-racism must be explicitly understood as fighting for the right of minorities to pursue their own political agendas, even if they are abhorrent to you. Anti-racism requires being scrupulous in how one talks or acts around those one might politically despise.

This isn’t just an issue that applies to Jews and antisemitism. We are beginning to see the strains in other forms of anti-racism too, when minorities start becoming politically awkward. The opposition from some British Muslim groups to teaching LGBT issues in school is one example of this. Yet opposition to Islamophobia is as vital as opposition to homophobia and one must not be sacrificed on the altar of the other.

The anti-racism that I suggest is a kind of self-sacrifice. Anti-racists must acknowledge but restrain how they really feel about those who must be defended against racism. Doing so involves a constant balancing act: supporting the right for Zionist Jews to live free from abuse and harassment while, at the same time, fighting for the right of Palestinians to live free from oppression. Creating that balance involves teeth-gritting; choosing not to pursue the most unbridled forms of political warfare when it involves ethno-religious minorities such as Jews.

It sounds like a horrible, frustrating and maddening process. But who said that anti-racism was going to be easy? Well, it isn’t easy and the fantasy that it is got us into this predicament in the first place.

This, then, is what a solution to the Labour party antisemitism crisis will have to look like, now that dialogue and conflict resolution have proved to be dead ends: an acknowledgment from the anti-Zionist left that anti-racist solidarity with those seen as despicable Zionist Jews must be unconditional. This is what I call “sullen solidarity” – and it is the most powerful form of solidarity there is.

Paradoxically, the first step in cultivating this sullen solidarity should be restraining love for those Jews with whom one is most in sympathy. The Labour leadership needs to stop its repeated expressions of support for particular Jewish traditions; its Passover messages about social justice and its invocations of the battle of Cable Street. As a leftwing Israel-critical Jew, I myself honour and respect some of the traditions with which Corbyn empathises, but I don’t need my way of being Jewish to be validated by anyone. Anti-racism should not be a reward for being culturally interesting or politically sympathetic; it should require no justification.

I am totally uninterested in whether the Labour leadership like Jews or what sort of Jews they like. I care only that they will refrain from expressing love for certain kinds of Jews and distrust of others, and that they will defend all of us from antisemitism, however unlikable they might find us.

Source: How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

7 UK Parliamentarians, In Protest Of Jeremy Corbyn, Leave Labour Party

The ongoing saga of Labour not being able to address antisemitism, as the Conservatives flail on Brexit. Sad:

Seven members of Britain’s Parliament quit the main opposition Labour Party on Monday, accusing its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of letting anti-Semitism flourish and failing to support a plan to hold another referendum on Brexit.

“This has been a very difficult, painful but necessary decision,” Luciana Berger, one of the seven legislators who have resigned, told reporters at a press conference Monday.

“I am sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party,” said parliamentarian Mike Gapes, adding that “prominent anti-Semites” were readmitted to the party.

The party’s leader has long faced accusations of either being an anti-Semite or tolerating anti-Semitism. Berger said the party has failed to address a strain of anti-Semitism within its ranks and has become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Gapes also accuses the party’s leadership of being “complicit in facilitating Brexit.” The former Labour members have said the United Kingdom’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union will trigger economic, political and social distress in the country.

“We’ve taken the first step in leaving the old tribal politics behind and we invite others who share our political values to do so too,” said Chuka Umunna, another of the politicians ditching Labour. “We invite you to leave your parties and help us forge a new consensus on a way forward for Britain.”

The seven lawmakers will remain in Parliament as the new, more centrist “Independent Group.” They support a Final Say referendum — a second poll after citizens voted for Brexit in 2016 — which they say should take place days before the withdrawal from the E.U.

In a statement, the group said the Labour Party has abandoned its progressive values and now pursues policies that could weaken national security and destabilize the British economy for ideological objectives.

“For a Party that once committed to pursue a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect, it has changed beyond recognition,” the group said. “Today, visceral hatreds of other people, views and opinions are commonplace in and around the Labour Party.”

In response, Corbyn said he was dismayed the members of Parliament are leaving the party. “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”

He added, “The Tories are bungling Brexit while Labour has set out a unifying and credible alternative plan.”

Other prominent Labour members also expressed their dismay.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called it a “desperately sad day,” despite agreeing that the public should be allowed to relitigate Brexit and that anti-Semitism needed to be addressed within the party.

Khan and other members of the party worry that the split will lead to a Conservative government.

“We shouldn’t splinter in this way,” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC. “It is better to remain in the party, fight your corner.”

But Conservatives used the announcement as a chance to denounce the Labour Party and Corbyn himself.

Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis accused Labour of becoming “the Jeremy Corbyn party.” He said, “We must never let him do to our country what he is doing to the Labour Party today.”

Nigel Farage, who helped lead the country’s Brexit campaign, also weighed in on Twitter, saying, “This moment may not look very exciting but it is the beginning of something bigger in British politics #realignment.”

Source: 7 UK Parliamentarians, In Protest Of Jeremy Corbyn, Leave Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn concedes Labour has failed to address antisemitism problem | The Guardian

Certain blindness to have let this issue fester for so long:

Jeremy Corbyn has issued his strongest condemnation of antisemitism so far as he came under intense pressure from his own backbenchers and the wider Jewish community over his failure to tackle antisemitism in the Labour party.

He was forced to step up his response during the day after an extraordinary open letter was published on Sunday night by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), accusing him of “siding with antisemites” and calling for supporters to stage a show of solidarity outside parliament as the parliamentary Labour party held its weekly meeting on Monday evening.

At the PLP meeting, backbenchers denied there was any kind of coup attempt. Wes Streeting MP, often a critic of Corbyn’s, said: “No one’s calling for a leadership election. We just want leadership.”

The pressure from backbench MPs began building on Friday when Luciana Berger challenged Corbyn over supportive comments he posted to the artist behind an antisemitic mural. It came to a head on Monday morning when John Mann, chair of the all-party antisemitism group, tweeted that the Labour party “ceases to have a reason for existence if it cannot stand up against discrimination and racism”. He said the party was “rotten to the core”.

His criticism was backed by the veteran former minister Dame Margaret Hodge, who said Corbyn had allowed himself to become “the poster boy of antisemites everywhere”.

As hundreds gathered at Westminster, including dozens of Labour MPs and peers, and a small group of rival demonstrators from Jewish Votes for Labour, Corbyn issued a “sincere apology” that acknowledged that his previous responses had been inadequate.

“I recognise that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples,” he said on Twitter.

“This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.”

Corbyn’s previous apology merely recognised that there were “pockets” of antisemitism in the party. That was rejected as inadequate by Jonathan Goldstein of the JLC, who said the Labour leader had become a figurehead for antisemitism.

Speaking at the solidarity protest outside parliament, the former Labour MP Gillian Merron, who is now chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said Corbyn had only made concessions because he had been forced into it by their actions.

“People here are angry and sad,” she said. “Nobody dreamt they would be in this position. The Jewish community has had enough and we are joined in that feeling by many many people inside and out of the Labour party.”

Later, Louise Ellman, who is a former chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, told BBC Newsnight it was “unprecedented” that the mainstream Jewish community had to take to the streets to protest at antisemitism in a mainstream political party.

In the second letter, Corbyn expressly apologised for failing to study the content of the antisemitic mural in the East End of London before posting supportive comments to its artist.

Jewish leaders claimed in their letter, released on Sunday night, that the controversy proved the Labour leader “cannot seriously contemplate antisemitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities”.

Countering the charge, Corbyn says in his letter: “While the forms of antisemitism expressed on the far right of politics are easily detectable, such as Holocaust denial, there needs to be a deeper understanding of what constitutes antisemitism in the labour movement. Sometimes this evil takes familiar forms – the east London mural which has caused such understandable controversy is an example.

“The idea of Jewish bankers and capitalists exploiting the workers of the world is an old antisemitic conspiracy theory … I am sorry for not having studied the content of the mural more closely before wrongly questioning its removal in 2012.”

In a much more nuanced recognition of the forms that antisemitism can take, the letter also accepts that anti-Zionism and antisemitism have become conflated.

“Criticism of Israel, particularly in relation to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, comparing Israel or the actions of Israeli governments to the Nazis… and using abusive phraseology about supporters of Israel such as ‘Zio’ all constitute aspects of contemporary antisemitism.”

He also promises that the party will implement in full the “overdue” recommendations of the Chakrabarti report,which was published nearly two years ago.

Andy McDonald, the shadow transport minister, insisted that action would be taken. He pledged to speed up the “far too slow” complaints process. He was unable to say how many complaints had been successfully dealt with.

via Jeremy Corbyn concedes Labour has failed to address antisemitism problem | Politics | The Guardian

A related article on the extent of antisemitism in the UK (CST report):

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that works with Jewish community organisations and police forces, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 – the highest total ever.

Of these, 145 incidents were classed as “assaults” – up from 108 the year before. But the most common type of incident was “verbal abuse directed at random Jewish people in public” – being shouted at in the street.

Meanwhile, almost one in five incidents involved the use of social media.

One tweet sent to a Jewish charity appeared to show a rollercoaster above a concentration camp. Another social media user posted messages saying “Hitler was right”.

The CST said there had been three incidents involving damage to, or desecration of, a Jewish cemetery; eight involving stones or bricks being thrown; and eight involving eggs being thrown at property.

The charity also cited improvements in the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents – but said it believed there was still “significant under-reporting”.

Anti-Semitism incidents chart

Earlier this month, the former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks told the Jewish News newspaper: “Any political party has to adopt a zero-tolerance to anti-Semitism. If they fail to do so, they are a danger not only to themselves but to the country and all inhabitants.”

Lord Sacks has previously said that anti-Semitism is an ancient hatred and a contemporary warning sign that community relations within a culture are endangered.

It is why the Jewish community is inviting members of other faiths, and of none, to join in the chorus: “Enough is Enough.”

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43542305

The Daily — Labour, Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census [immigration excerpts]

Immigration excerpts (looking forward to exploring the various data tables):

Immigrants accounted for almost one-quarter of the labour force

From 2006 to 2016, about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth was the result of migratory increase (the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants). Similarly, the labour force was growing in large part due to increased immigration, with immigrants accounting for 23.8% of the labour force in 2016, up from 21.2% in 2006.

In 2016, half of the workforce in the CMA of Toronto were immigrants. The CMA of Vancouver had the second-highest proportion of immigrants in its labour force at 43.2%, followed by the CMA of Calgary at 32.5%.

The contribution of immigrants to the Canadian labour market is an important component of strategies to offset the impact of population aging, which might otherwise lead to a shrinking pool of workers and labour shortages. Many immigrants are admitted into Canada based on their skills and education.

In May 2016, among recent immigrants aged 25 to 54, 68.5% were employed, compared with an employment rate of 79.5% for core-aged immigrants who landed more than five years before the census, and 82.0% for the Canadian-born population. Among recent immigrants in this age group, 79.6% of men were employed, compared with 58.6% of women.

Although the employment rate for core-aged recent immigrants was lower than that of other immigrants and the Canadian-born, it increased from 67.1% in 2006 to 68.5% in 2016. For core-aged recent immigrant women, the employment rate increased from 56.8% in 2006 to 58.6% in 2016, and for core-aged recent immigrant men, the rate increased from 78.7% to 79.6%. In contrast, employment rates for core-aged Canadian-born men, as well as for non-recent immigrant men and women, declined over this 10-year period.

via The Daily — Labour in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

Over half of recent immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Immigrants contribute to Canada’s economy by bringing their skills and high levels of educational attainment. Canada’s immigration system highly values education. In recent years, new programs have made it easier for international students who have completed their postsecondary education in Canada to immigrate into the country. As of the 2016 Census, 4 in 10 immigrants aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, just under one-quarter of the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrants who landed in the five years prior to the 2016 Census were especially well-educated, with over half having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrant women were more likely than recent immigrant men to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016. The reverse was true in the 2006 Census.

The percentage of all immigrants with a master’s or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population. Among immigrants aged 25 to 64, 11.3% had a master’s or doctorate degree compared with 5.0% among the Canadian-born population. Recent immigrants were even more likely to have a master’s or doctorate degree, with 16.7% of them holding these graduate degrees in 2016.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016
Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

…Close to one-third of refugees have upgraded their educational credentials in Canada

For the first time, the census included information on the admission category under which immigrants to Canada have arrived. The Canadian immigration system has three broad goals: to attract educated and skilled immigrants, to reunify families, and to provide humanitarian and compassionate refuge. Immigrants admitted under the refugee category face particular challenges as they are not admitted based on education, language or other assets, and may not have all of the skills required to find employment in their new country.

Close to one-third of refugees (31.5%) who have received their permanent resident status, upgraded their educational credentials by completing their highest postsecondary qualification in Canada. When looking only at those who arrived as adults (aged 18 and older), about 22% upgraded their education with higher qualifications in Canada, slightly more than immigrants admitted under either the economic or family categories, both at about 20%. The majority (71.1%) of refugees who immigrated to Canada as adults and upgraded their educational qualifications in Canada completed a trades or college diploma. In comparison, among economic immigrants who upgraded their education in Canada, the majority (56.5%) completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Via: Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census 

Labour’s amendment on antisemitism should reassure Jewish supporters | Keith Kahn-Harris | The Guardian

One of the better commentaries that I have seen but welcome comments from those closer to UK politics:

In responding to this morning’s debate on party rule changes, Jim Kennedy, the Labour national executive committee (NEC) member who moved them, shook his head in wonder: “The rules used to be the most mundane part of the conference.” He was correct to reflect that the passionate attention paid to rule changes is a sign of the newly vibrant nature of the party’s internal democracy.

One of those rule changes looks like it should have been uncontroversial in a party where anti-racism is a central value:

“No member of the party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the party. The NEC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment or identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation as prejudicial to the party; these shall include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as determined by the NEC, wherever it occurs, as conduct prejudicial to the party.”

To the untrained eye, the manner in which the amendment was proposed looks like a welcome example of the party coming together after a fractious series of widely publicised controversies over antisemitism. It was proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement – which represents those Jews in the party who are Zionists – but it was also endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn himself, whose relationship with Zionism is sceptical to say the least, together with Momentum, some of whose activists have been accused in the past of antisemitism.

But such is the ability of antisemitism to spark conflict in the Labour party, that the amendment has not gone unchallenged, despite the apparent consensus. Labour Party Marxists already told its members: “This is supported by the Jewish Labour Movement, which already tells you that you should probably oppose without even having to read it.” There have been calls to expel the JLM for its support for Israel, including by delegate Sara Callaway during the debate.

Leah Levane, a Jewish delegate from Hastings and Rye, whose constituency had initially put forward a different wording, reluctantly withdrew her amendment in favour of the NEC one but not without a sharply worded declaration that the Jewish Labour Movement did not speak for her. Then, in the response to the debate, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi castigated the JLM for “running to the Daily Mail and the Telegraph with stories” before objecting to the reference in Levane’s amendment to “holding” beliefs since: “That’s thought crime, comrades, and we can’t be having it.” Wimborne-Idrissi also lauded the launch the previous evening of Jewish Voice for Labour, a group that aims to push back at what it sees as attempts to “widen” the definition of antisemitism.

The controversy over antisemitism in Labour is therefore unlikely to go away any time soon. However much the party’s rules might condemn antisemitism and enable disciplinary action against those accused of it, there is no getting around the fact that there are competing definitions of what antisemitism consists of. That Jews themselves disagree only complicates matters further.

Nonetheless, the fact that the JLM, the NEC, Corbyn and Momentum were able to cooperate in this matter does suggest a desire to come together for the good of the party. Indeed, the JLM’s Twitter account proclaimed “help Jeremy Corbyn fight antisemitism”, a striking refutation of the accusation that the group is seeking to undermine his leadership. As Mike Katz from the JLM and Philip Cohen, a Jewish councillor from Finchley, both argued from the platform, the amendment might help to rally Jews back to Labour in some constituencies. The desire to achieve power can be a way of concentrating minds of Corbynites and Labour Zionists alike.

The amendment is another example of the tension between enabling free debate within Labour and ensuring it is a disciplined party that can win elections (the lack of Brexit debate is another). If Polly Toynbee is right and Corbyn has been transformed into a politically savvy pragmatist, then his backing of the amendment is a manifestation of this. What remains to be seen is whether those who spoke against the amendment will accept the inevitable restraint that this implies.

Source: Labour’s amendment on antisemitism should reassure Jewish supporters | Keith Kahn-Harris | Opinion | The Guardian

Australia: Labor disputes Peter Dutton’s claim party was briefed on citizenship changes

The politics are fascinating (policy not so much).

Not releasing the results of the consultations (Australia: Feedback on controversial citizenship changes to be kept secret) and now Labour contesting the degree of consultations …:

The shadow minister for citizenship, Tony Burke, has accused Peter Dutton of misleading journalists about having properly briefed Labor on the government’s proposed changes to citizenship laws.

Dutton, the immigration minister, announced on Sunday he would introduce legislation to parliament this week that made it harder to get Australian citizenship.

He said the Turnbull government wanted to toughen English language competencies, introduce a values test, extend the amount of time before permanent residents could apply for citizenship, and require people to demonstrate they had integrated into Australian society.

He called on Labor to support the legislation, and said Labor had been briefed on the bill.

“The Labor party will receive a copy of the bill this week,” he said on Sunday. “They’ve already had a briefing in relation to the bill.”

On Monday, Dutton then announced the legislation would give him power to overrule decisions by the Administrative Appeal Tribunalon citizenship applications that he didn’t think were in Australia’s national interest.

He called on Labor to support the bill again.

“It won’t pass through the Senate unless we can get Labor’s support, so that’s the key objective for this week, to speak with the Labor party,” he told Sky News.

“They’ve already had a briefing in relation to many of these matters and once they’ve seen the legislation this week they can ask questions.”

Labour response

But Burke said on Tuesday that Labor hadn’t been briefed on the policy details that appeared in media reports over the last couple of days.

He said the last briefing Labor received was before the 9 May budget, over a month ago.

“I was given a briefing on the 8th of May,” Burke said. “Was I briefed on the issues of the citizenship changes that were in the papers on the weekend? No, not at all. That’s all new. None of that existed as part of the proposal at the time of the briefing.

“[During that briefing], when I asked which parts of what I was being briefed on the government was committed to, the answer was none.

“When I asked, on the English-language test, how many people who currently apply for citizenship would pass the test, the government didn’t know.

“When I asked how many Australians would pass the test at a university level, the government didn’t know.

“Today I see in the papers, a claim that it is somehow linked to national security … once again, we’ve got changes here that have appeared in the paper that weren’t part of the briefing, that weren’t part of the government’s original proposal,” he said.