US/World News

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

(JTA) – Jewish journalists and activists against antisemitism were banned from attending an event organized by leading members of Britain’s Labour Party. The event Thursday, Oct. 11 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 antisemitism 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.” 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 Manson 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 antisemitism in Labour. 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. In 2015, he laid a wreath on a monument for perpetrators of the Munich massacre of 11 Israeli Olympians in 1972 by Palestinian terrorists. 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 antisemitism and that the row has been concocted by right-wing Jews.

CAP: Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

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