A branch of the U.K. Labour Party voted down a motion over the weekend condemning the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at Shabbas-morning services at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.
Lone gunman Robert Bowers, the suspect behind the shooting, was charged on Nov. 7 in a 44-count indictment that accuses the 46-year-old of federal hate crimes. The indictment states that while inside the synagogue, Bowers indicated his desire to “kill Jews,” yelling “All Jews must die.”
Steve Cooke, the secretary of Norton West branch in the Stockton North constituency, said he was “aghast” that the motion was defeated after members criticized that there was too much emphasis on “anti-Semitism this, anti-Semitism that,” according to The Independent. Only two members voted in favor of it.
The branch’s members demanded an allusion to anti-Semitism be omitted from the statement regarding the attack.
The motion proposed by Cooke said the killings “demonstrate the dangers posed by the growth in anti-Semitic sentiments and hate speech internationally,” and call for an obligation to “stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world and send our condolences to all those affected by the tragic events in Pittsburgh.”
Additionally, the resolution stated that “anti-Semitism exists in society, and we affirm our belief that such prejudice must be confronted and eradicated wherever it arises.”
The Independent reported that “Cooke said previous motions on Islamophobia and anti-migrant rhetoric had not been met with similar demands that they be made less specific and instead refer to all forms of racism.”