Jewish journalists, anti-racism activists barred from Labour Party event in London

Oct 12, 2018

(JTA) — Jewish journalists and activists against anti-Semitism were banned from attending an event organized by leading members of Britain’s Labour Party.

The event Thursday in London featured a speech by John McDonnell, a shadow chancellor of Labour and confidant of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Dozens of Jews who had tickets to the event, but who had previously spoken out about the anti-Semitism row that engulfed Labour over the summer, were told at the last minute that their tickets had been canceled, The Independent reported. No reason was given to them.

Organizers later accused those banned, including reporters for The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News as well as bloggers, of having “previously misrepresented events,” The Independent reported.

Some journalists were later allowed to attend, but they and other journalists were made to pay $10 in attendance fees that went toward the campaign of activist Jenny Mason to enter Parliament.

At the event, McDonnell joined Manson, chair of the controversial Jewish Voice for Labour  group, who is seeking to become a Labour lawmaker representing north London. The event had been organized by her campaign team, which is linked to a branch of Corbyn’s Momentum organization.

Mainstream Jewish groups have condemned Manson’s group because of its dismissal of concerns about anti-Semitism in Labour.

“The banning of Jewish Labour members from a John McDonnell event tonight is an act of racial segregation that underlines the institutional antisemitism now endemic within the Labour Party,” said a spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, whose members were banned from attending the event.

Manson has frequently spoken in defense of people accused of anti-Semitism, including former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who was suspended by Labour after claiming Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism.

She has previously said she “began to identify as a Jew in order to argue against the State of Israel and its behavior.”

Mainstream Jewish groups in the United Kingdom, as well as former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, have called Corbyn, a far-left politician who has argued for a blanket boycott of Israel and had called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends,” an anti-Semite. Corbyn has retracted both statements.

Earlier this year, a recording from 2013 had Corbyn claiming that Britain-born “Zionists” don’t understand irony. In 2015, he laid a wreath on a monument for perpetrators of the Munich massacre of 11 Israeli Olympians in 1972 by Palestinian terrorists.

In 2013, Corbyn also defended a mural depicting hook-nosed men playing monopoly on the backs of dark-skinned people.

These and other scandals unleashed an unprecedented wave of street protests by British Jews against what used to be their political home. Manson’s group, however, protested against the demonstrators, claiming Labour does not have a problem with anti-Semitism and that the row has been concocted by right-wing Jews.

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