Hundreds protest against ‘racist’ Labour at Westminster demo

Hundreds protest against ‘racist’ Labour at Westminster demo

The Labour Party should be "abandoned by all decent people", Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman tells the crowd.

Hundreds of protesters returned to Parliament Square on Thursday night for an emergency rally against Labour’s new code of conduct on anti-Semitism.

Speakers included politicians such as Lord Polak, community and religious leaders as well as campaigners from outside of the community – including Ghanem Nuseibeh, chairman of Muslims Against Antisemitism.

The crowd expressed support for Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who this week told Jeremy Corbyn to his face that he was “an anti-Semite and a racist”.

Libel lawyer Mark Lewis also addressed the crowd, responding to claims made by allies of Corbyn that Hodge had slandered the Labour leader.

Protesters in Westminster on Thursday night.

He said: “The words ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a racist’ are not defamatory, they’re true. If he wants to sue about that, he can do, but he is a racist, he leads a racist party and anyone who supports that party is supporting racism.”

Rabbi Andrew Shaw of Mizrahi UK called the situation “shocking and scary”, claiming the Labour Party and its leadership had brought “racism to the mainstream”.

“This family is hurting” he said to resounding cheers. “You don’t pick a fight with the Jewish people. We don’t lose.”

Labour Against Antisemitism spokesman Euan Phillips told the audience: “I joined Labour to fight racists, not be led by them”, before referring to current trends in the party as being reminiscent of “the politics of the 1930s.”

Also addressing the crowd was LBC radio host Iain Dale. He said: “You don’t have to be Jewish to recognise what is happening in the Labour Party. As long as I am presenting on LBC you will always have an ally. I will always call out an anti-Semite when I see one.”

Following the protest, community leaders delivered a letter to Corbyn outlining concrete actions they need him to address.

Lord Polak addresses the crowd.

The event, which was live streamed on the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Facebook page, also saw its chairman Gideon Falter address the crowd. He said: “The last time that we gathered in Parliament Square, our message was ‘Enough is enough’. The Jewish community has given the Labour Party every possible opportunity to veer from the path it is on, but in defiance of British Jews and even his own MPs, Jeremy Corbyn has doggedly dragged the once anti-racist Labour Party into the depths of racism.

“By trying to redefine anti-Semitism his way, Jeremy Corbyn has left no doubt that he is the leader of an anti-Semitic institution, and he is perfectly happy with that. The Labour Party should be abandoned by all decent people.”

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