Antisemitism within the Labour Party

March 17, 2016 at 9:09 pm (anti-semitism, conspiracy theories, Jim D, labour party, Racism)

Vicki Kirby (pictured above), Labour’s candidate for Woking in 2014, was suspended from the Labour Party following a string of antisemitic tweets.  Since then it seems that she was allowed to rejoin the Party and appointed as Woking CLP’s vice chair.  This news comes at a time when Labour faces particular scrutiny over the way it deals with antisemitism following the (brief) readmittance of the crank Gerry Downing and allegations over antisemitism in Oxford University’s Labour Club. Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, responded to Kirby’s reinstatement on LBC:

I simply can’t understand how or why someone who has expressed these sorts of views has been allowed to remain a member of the Labour Party at all … frankly if this was any other form of racism she would have been kicked out … I’ve had messages from Party members who’ve cut up their membership cards, I’ve had constituents in Ilford North write to me asking what on earth is going on with the Labour Party, is there still a place for Jews in the Labour Party.

Since then, Kirby has once more been suspended, and because of the outcry, seems likely to be expelled.

Statement by the Jewish Labour Movement (March 15th):

Statement on Woking CLP

Yesterday evening, the Jewish Labour Movement wrote to the Woking Constituency Labour Party informing them of our intention to affiliate to the CLP under the provisions within the Labour Party Rule Book, with the specific intention of bringing forward a vote of no confidence in the CLP Vice-Chair at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Jewish Labour Movement is a Socialist Society, and has been affiliated to the Labour Party since 1920. One of our core values is to fight antisemitism, racism and all forms of discrimination and racial hatred. We would much prefer not to have to have that fight within our own Party.

We welcome the decision by the Party to suspend Vicki Kirby pending a full investigation, and will continue to pursue our affiliation to the Woking CLP. We hope that through this process, and through an honest and open debate within the Woking CLP, party members can decide whether or not our Party should be a space for these kinds of views.

To Party members who have expressed their support for Jewish Labour activists over the past 48 hours, we say thank you. To those Jewish Labour activists considering leaving the Party, we say stay.

We are not giving up on the Party of Barnett, Silkin, Mikado, Freeson, Shinwell, Lever Edelman and other towering figures of the Jewish left. We ask that you join with us in ensuring that the Labour Party does not give up on us.


  1. Mike Killingworth said,

    Apparently there have been no “towering figures of the Jewish left” since the 1970s.

    If I were either Jewish or a member of the Labour Party this would worry me far more than the antics of a silly little girl in deepest Surrey.

    • ZINR said,

      What an unpleasant, irrelevant and stupid comment.

      As for the antics of “a silly little girl”, if her reinstatement doesn’t bother you then you are very much a part of the problem.

      You are about to see a massive decline in Jewish support for the Labour Party for the first time in its history. If this doesn’t bother you either then perhaps you should find a more suitable political organisation to lend your support to – Respect may be the appropriate party?

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        I would have thought the Corbyn and McDonnell due would put of almost anyone who did not support Palestinian islamic fascists and Sinn Fein IRA.
        I will continue to pay my Labour subs until they boot me out.

  2. John R said,

    The AWL have done much to highlight anti-Semitism within the Left more than probably any other Far Left group in the UK. For this they should be congratulated.

    Indeed, the anti-Semitic cartoon I found below which I put on my (very recent) Twitter account, @JRogan3000, was found on their website. The details below were written by me.

    There are copies of the “Labour Herald” in the British Library. It would be interesting to see any more of the artwork and/or articles written there particularly when John McDonnell was involved in editorial decisions.

    Another question, of course, is whether John McDonnell was aware of this cartoon and the anti-Semitic nature of the WRP when he took up his position on its Editorial Board.

    Is this of any relevance today? Well, as the Labour Representation Committee (Chair – John McDonnell) tolerated the affiliation of Gerry Downing’s anti-Semitic Socialist Fight group for years (and passed their pro-Real IRA motion at the LRC AGM 2012), I think it does have contemporary relevance.

  3. Bazza said,

    This should be a straightforward issue. Anyone espousing racist remarks must make genuine retractions of them or be kicked out of labour movement organisations. Claiming to be Trots or lefties is beside the point.

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