Major Documentary on UK Labour Party Antisemitism Premieres in London
Some of the UK’s leading Jewish intellectuals gathered with Labour Party parliamentarians at London’s JW3 Jewish community center on Monday night for the public launch of a major documentary on the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Among those speaking at the first screening of “Whitewashed” — based on the testimonies of loyal Labour Party members and supporters who submitted evidence to the party’s internal inquiry into antisemitism in 2016 — was award-winning British Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson, whose books include The Finkler Question, a satire on modern British antisemitism.
Jacobson noted that the author of the party’s internal report, civil rights activist Shami Chakrabarti, was quickly elevated to the House of Lords, the British parliament’s upper chamber, after submitting her findings.
Holding up his middle finger, Jacobson said he felt “that was what [Labour Party leader Jeremy] Corbyn was saying to all of us who complained.”
“Corbyn has never yet said ‘antisemitism’ without also saying ‘all racism,’ as though he has to apologize to everybody else before he can apologize for antisemitism,” Jacobson continued.
Three Labour MPs — John Mann, Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan — were present for the screening of the documentary and the discussion afterwards, which took place between Jacobson and academic David Hirsh, who narrated the film, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
Mann — the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism — told the audience they were wrong to be despondent about Labour’s future. He cited recent positive developments at the National Union of Students, where a leader with a record of questionable comments about “Zionism” was voted out, as well as at Labour Students and the Oxford Labour Club, both of which rejected far left candidates.
“This is my party, this isn’t Corbyn’s party, this is my party,” Mann said. “We will play our role in combating antisemitism until we wipe it out of our party.
Watch “Whitewashed: Antisemitism in the Labour Party” below: