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The recent elections in Britain have shown significant shifts in demographic voting patterns, particularly among Muslim and Jewish voters. The Labour Party’s relationships with these two groups have played a crucial role in the outcomes of various constituencies.

In several areas with large Muslim populations, such as Leicester South and Dewsbury, there were surprising wins for independent candidates, indicating a decline in support for Labour among Muslim voters. This trend was also observed in places like Birmingham Perry Barr and Blackburn.

One prominent Muslim voter, Mish Rahman, who sits on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, expressed disappointment with the party’s response to events in Gaza, leading to a loss of trust among some Muslim voters.

In contrast, there has been a noticeable increase in support for Labour among Jewish voters, with wins in constituencies like Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon, and Bury South. This shift has been attributed to efforts by the party to address concerns within the Jewish community.

Overall, the contrasting voting patterns among Muslims and Jews highlight the complex dynamics at play within faith communities and their impact on political outcomes.

“The lack of a dominant party of choice in the results is a positive development and a significant transformation for Labour,” stated Mr. Langleben. Despite lingering mistrust, what has caused the change in perception of the Labour Party among some British Jews? The more measured criticism of Israel’s response to the October attacks by the current leadership, compared to the previous leadership, may have played a role. Mr. Langleben also highlights changes in how the party addresses complaints related to “protected characteristics” like faith, as well as a key moment that convinced him to rejoin the party.

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“The pivotal moment was Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension and subsequent removal of the whip from the Labour Party, which demonstrated Keir Starmer’s determination to address issues within the party,” he explains. Mr. Rahman also points to Corbyn’s suspension as a significant clash within the party under Starmer’s leadership. However, as someone who supported Corbyn since the Stop the War protests in 2003, Mr. Rahman viewed this event as a warning sign that the party was not upholding his values.

Mr. Rahman criticizes what he perceives as a hierarchy of racism within the Labour Party, where some forms of racism, including Islamophobia, are not taken as seriously as others. He mentions the case of Trevor Phillips, who was reinstated in the party despite allegations of Islamophobia. Additionally, he raises concerns about Starmer’s comments on migrants during the election campaign, which he believes target specific ethnic groups.

Expressing disenchantment with Labour’s response and treatment of Muslims, Mr. Rahman accuses the party of being institutionally Islamophobic. He hopes to hold the party accountable for its actions and urges it to recognize the diversity of voters’ concerns. Despite his past membership protest against Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq War, Mr. Rahman rejoined the party in 2014 after Ed Miliband’s condemnation of Israeli actions in Gaza.

The decline in Jewish support for Labour, particularly due to issues surrounding Israel, was evident during Miliband’s leadership. Mr. Langleben recalls difficult conversations with Jewish voters during this time. He notes that the accusations of antisemitism against the Labour Party shifted from being primarily linked to Israel to far-left anti-Jewish racism by 2019.

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While some supporters of the Corbyn era leadership felt criticism of Israel was unfairly tied to antisemitism, Keir Starmer has worked to regain trust among Jewish voters. The handling of crises by Starmer has been praised by Mr. Langleben, who sees it as a realignment with UK and US government policies on Israel. During the election campaign, Mr. Rahman faced tough conversations with Muslim voters over Israel’s actions in Gaza, reflecting deep-seated frustrations within the community.

Reflecting on the historical loyalty of Muslim communities to the Labour Party, Mr. Rahman highlights the one-sided nature of this relationship. His family’s ties to the party date back to his grandfather, a factory worker in the 1950s and 60s. El Sr. Rahman habla de sentirse “traicionado”. Gaza, por supuesto, no es solo un problema musulmán, y no todos los musulmanes lo consideraron como una de las consideraciones clave por la cual votaron, pero tuvo un impacto.

De manera similar, la política de Israel no es necesariamente una consideración importante para todos los votantes judíos, e incluso para aquellos para quienes lo es, hay quienes son muy críticos con el gobierno israelí y no están de acuerdo con la respuesta del Partido Laborista bajo Starmer.

Pero mientras que a lo largo de las décadas el voto judío ha oscilado entre los dos principales partidos en línea con la población general, parecería que si dejamos de lado todas las disputas sobre el antisemitismo, la postura del partido sobre Israel afecta la intención de voto.

Por separado, tanto Mish Rahman como Adam Langleben son muy claros en que sus acusaciones de discriminación dirigidas al partido en diferentes épocas no se refieren solo a la política del partido en el Medio Oriente.

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Incluso si todos pueden estar satisfechos de que las acusaciones de discriminación se traten de manera igualitaria, las tensiones modernas en torno a la política del Medio Oriente pueden hacer que los partidos políticos luchen por encontrar una posición que no aliena a algunos miembros de una de estas comunidades religiosas.

El Partido Laborista ha logrado mucho al recuperar los niveles de votantes judíos que tiene, pero también ha dejado a grandes sectores de votantes musulmanes leales en Gran Bretaña sintiéndose políticamente a la deriva, y grandes cambios en la cultura y política en los últimos años dejan a muchos en cada comunidad necesitando convencerse de la verdadera naturaleza del partido.