Labour has selected a local council candidate who has dismissed allegations of anti-Semitism in the party as a “witch hunt”.
Noah Tucker, a senior figure in Haringey Momentum, was selected at the weekend to fight a by-election in St. Ann’s ward in Haringey.
In a Facebook post in June, he highlighted a motion passed by the Haringey branch of momentum which condemned “summary suspensions” of Labour members and called for all suspensions to be immediately lifted in the same way as happened with Jackie Walker, who had said many Jews were “chief financiers of the slave trade”.
While the statement said the group opposes anti-Semitism, it added suspensions including of Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone had been the result of a “campaign” by the the right wing of Labour, the media, Zionist groups and Israel to undermine the party’s leadership and “shut down” debate on the Middle East.
Tucker was among a list of candidates vetted by a party panel including Claudia Webbe, who was recently elected to Labour’s national executive committee. It’s not known whether his views on the anti-Semitism scandal was known to the panel and the party is yet to respond to requests for comment.
Rabbi David Mason, whose Muswell Hill synagogue is just two miles from St Ann’s, told the Jewish News: “While enjoying a positive and growing relationship with our local Labour council and MP, many of my members would be worried about the sentiments supported here by Mr Tucker. One would hope that he would consider on election the views of the many Jewish constituents of Haringey and their worries regarding Momentum’s problematic view of Israel and the Jewish community.”
An activist who chose to remain anonymous said: “These views are becoming increasingly commonplace in Tottenham Labour Party. As the Chakrabati inquiry makes clear these views have no place in the party. The selection of this gentleman is deeply upsetting. It is giving legitimacy to hostility to the Jewish Community and gives it .the official stamp of the Labour Party.”
His selection will raise further concern only weeks after Tottenham Labour scheduled a meeting on Shabbat to decide whether to nominate Corbyn or Owen Smith – and failed to listen to concerns of the local Orthodox community who would be unable to attend. The gathering was only moved after the London regional party stepped in to insist it was unacceptable for Orthodox party supporters to be disenfranchised.
Meanwhile, Corbyn was criticised for sharing a platform with readmitted party member Walker at a rally in Ramsgate organised by Thanet Momentum. She has shown no remorse over the remarks that led to her suspension.
Corbyn told the home affairs select committee before the summer recess that he was “content” with the readmission but insisted comments made by Walker would not be remarks he would make.