UK Labour Councillor Defends Antisemitic Twitter User Who Said Party ‘Now Under Zionist Control’
Despite efforts to mitigate the problem, the UK Labour party continues to grapple with antisemitism scandals, the latest concerning a former MP and current local councilor who referred to criticism of antisemitism online as “witch hunting.”
After far-left anti-Israel activist Jeremy Corbyn was elected its leader in 2015, Labour was wracked by antisemitism scandals, several of them involving Corbyn himself. According to polls, the overwhelming majority of British Jews considered him to be personally antisemitic.
Corbyn resigned as leader after Labour was overwhelmingly defeated in last December’s general election. His successor, Keir Starmer, has pledged to root out antisemitism from the party.
In the latest incident, Laura Smith, who was elected to parliament in 2017 and is currently a councilor on the Cheshire East Council, was involved in a spat on Twitter over antisemitism.
According to the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism, a user calling himself Sanjeev Banger tweeted, “Sadly our Labour party is now under Zionist control. Let’s form a new socialist party with [Corbyn] as leader.”
Another user replied, “Antisemite.”
At that point, Smith stepped in and replied, “I’m sorry Joe but you witch hunting people on Twitter makes you as bad as the factions you supposedly despise.”
Labour is currently under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the issue of antisemitism.
In his victory statement, Starmer admitted to his party’s antisemitism problem, saying, “Antisemitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it’s brought to so many Jewish communities. On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry.”
“I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of our Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us,” he added.