SUPPORTERS OF CATHOLICS for Labour (CfL) were surprised to see the group’s Twitter account declare “our take” on the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which coincided with Luciana Bergen’s view that it was “vital” to adopt it immediately and in full. Given that CfL has no membership, no officers and no policy-making structures, it is - to say the least - unclear how “our take” was determined.
The group was launched at the initiative of Mike Kane MP, a former adviser to James Purcell. A mass was held at Labour conference in Brighton 2017, and other CfL masses have been held in Manchester and in London, which was followed by a social event. This is the sum total of the group’s activity so far.
It is understandable that a Catholic group might want to affirm its commitment to combatting antisemitism, not least given the church’s distinctly chequered track record. But why rush to comment on the party’s internal debate on the adoption of a specific definition, when the group has had nothing to say on any other major issue of the day? Nothing on climate change and environmental destruction (the topic of Pope Francis’s groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si), nothing on the clerical child sex abuse crisis, nothing on sexuality or life issues, and nothing on the scandal of poverty in the UK.
There are fears that the group is being kept deliberately free of organisational structures in order that it can be utilised for factional ends by opponents of Corbyn’s leadership. In reality, we have not even discussed the question of the IHRA definition, let alone settled on a specific “take”.