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June 27, 2017 11:44 am

Major Documentary on UK Labour Party Antisemitism Premieres in London

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Shami Chakrabarti is elevated to the House of Lords. Image:

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.

Read The Algemeiner’s review of “Whitewashed: 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:

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  • Richard_SM

    Intelligent people understand that being opposed to Israel’s conduct is not anti-semitism.

    As the former Israeli government minister Shulamit Aloni revealed: Anti-semitism – it’s a trick, we always use when anybody criticises Israel.

  • Patrick Holt

    Praise God, no this isn’t Mann’s party. It isn’t his possession. It belongs to all the ordinary, representative Labour voters and democratic socialists who leapt at the chance to be done with neoliberalism, austerity and illegal wars by supporting Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership, and who were instrumental in bringing off the huge turnout in the last election, despite the incredible stupidity of MPs like Mann who consciously tried to lose by distributing election materials disavowing the manifesto which all polling showed to be incredibly popular. The fact that he insists it’s his party, not Corbyn’s demonstrates his contempt for democracy, contempt for Labour voters and contempt for the poor which it now serves once again, after twenty years serving the rich. This anti-semitism smear is nothing more than the attempted exporting of the exceptionalist fascism normal in Israeli politics that labels all criticism of Israel, sympathy for Palestinians and dissent from the volks-lebenraum-theory model ethnic-cleansing-and-replacement colonialism that is packaged as Zionism by Israel’s fascists, as “anti-semitism”. It is a lie and the kind of despicable bullying practised by Mann must be stood up to square-on and prosecuted. He is a disgrace to the Labour party and to parliament, and at the earliest opportunity I am sure he will be deselected.