A former president of Oxford university’s Jewish society is to replace Ken Livingstone as a contender for Labour’s governing body, Jewish Can reveal.
Rhea Wolfson, 25 who previously worked as outreach director for the New Israel Fund, is co-chair of Scottish young Socialists and women’s officer at Scottish Young Labour.
Currently branch secretary for the GMB union, she will be among six candidates for the centre-left slate backed by the pro-Corbyn grassroots organisation Momentum. A further six candidates, including We Believe in Israel director Luke Akehurt, will make up a centre-right slate. Labour’s membership of nearly 400,000 will elect six members in total to the national executive committee in July’s election.
She told the Jewish News: “I’m really excited to be able to make a contribution to the slate and hopefully to the NEC. It’s going to be a challenging campaign across the country but I’m throwing myself in to it. I’m confident I have a shot as much as anyone else
“I’ve been involved in youth politics across the country and I think having more young voices is very important. I think having a Scottish voice is also important following the recent elections.”
Livingstone is ineligible to stand following his suspension for suggesting Hitler supporting Zionism, though there was widespread opposition to him featuring on the slate even if he had been. Wolfson, who featured on Jewish News’ 25 Under 25 list last year, said she was “very pleased Livingstone wasn’t on the slate. He did some good things for London but I’m not a supporter”.
While she wasn’t standing as “the Jewish candidate but with many hats”, the 25-year-old said: “I’m hoping it does send a message that the left of the Labour Party is taking the issue of anti-Semitism seriously. I have confidence the leadership is taking this seriously through the inquiry and suspensions.” She said tackling offensive language and tropes used on the left in relation to Israel must be tackled through education, expressing hope that efforts by the Young Socialists group in Scotland to do that would be replicated nationwide.
She campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn at the last election, saying he “best reflected” her values.
Momentum founder Jon Lansman said: “Rhea Wolfson is a very impressive young woman, committed to fighting for a more democratic socialist agenda. As a young, Jewish Scot, she will provide important perspectives that will improve the running of the Labour Party.”