A left-wing Labour group has suggested that claims of antisemitism in the party are “ruling class propaganda”, aimed at preventing Jeremy Corbyn from being Prime Minister.
TheLabour Representation Committee (LRC), whose president is shadow chancellor John McDonnell, said in a 39-point statement that “anti-Zionists” were being expelled from Labour while “more and more councils are adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (sic) [IHRA] definition and examples of antisemitism and using it to discipline workers”, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
The LRC conference manifesto, “‘Preparing our Movement for the Struggles Ahead”, says: “Clearly, the preferred option of the ruling class is to prevent Corbyn ever becoming Prime Minister.
“At root their concern is his stand against austerity and imperialist war. They are prepared to throw anything at him.. They have found mileage with the accusation that the party harbours large numbers of antisemites, and even that Corbyn himself is antisemitic.”
Although the LRC concedes that “antisemitism exists in the party, though much more marginally than suggested”, it adds “criticism of Israel, up to and including the argument by many that, as a colonial settler state, it is an intrinsically racist endeavour” is acceptable.
It also predicted “an upsurge in allegations, new or old, whenever an election looms”.
False allegations of antisemitism “are intended to weaponise the accusations of antisemitism against Labour. Such allegations must be challenged politically, and it is why the passing of the resolution by 2018 Labour Conference and the accompanying waving of Palestinian flags was so important.”
Euan Philipps, from the Labour Against Antisemitism group, told the JC the LRC’s comments were “outrageous” and that McDonnell should “resign as the organisation’s president immediately”.
A Labour spokesman said: “John has no day-to-day involvement in the operation of the LRC and is not responsible for its website or for posts on social media by its supporters.”
When Jewish News exclusively interviewed John McDonnell earlier in 2018, the paper asked him if he was comfortable remaining president of the Labour Representation Committee that had previously said the Ken Livingstone case was a ‘witch hunt’.
The Shadow Chancellor said he was “not going to disassociate myself from an organisation I founded because they disagree with me or I disagree with them on these particular issues because on most issues I agree with them and they have been a beneficial force in the Labour party and in other policy areas. I’ve made my position clear, I completely disagree if I’m honest.”