‘Jew process’ Labour councillor among those facing Labour expulsion

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‘Jew process’ Labour councillor among those facing Labour expulsion

Jo Bird, previously investigated over antisemitism claims, confirmed she received notice of possible auto exclusion over her involvement with Labour Against The Witch-hunt

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jo Bird
Jo Bird

A Labour councillor who used the term “Jew process” is among party to activists to be warned they face expulsion over their membership of banned organisations.

Jo Bird, previously investigated over antisemitism claims, confirmed she received notice of possible auto exclusion from Labour.

The charge relates to her involvement with the Labour Against The Witch-hunt organisation, one of four groups now proscribed by the party.

The Wirral councillor had spoken at events organised by LATW, who were set up to defend activists expelled or suspended by Labour over antisemitism claims.

Bird confirmed she would launch an appeal against the possibility of expulsion – but in a tweet she described a speech given at a LATW event as “one of my best.”

She has previously sought election onto Labour’s ruling national executive committee.

But in a serious of speeches Bird also attempted to suggest claims of antisemitism were taken more seriously by Labour than other forms of racism.

She attacked the earlier expulsion of the activist Marc Wadsworth as “unfair”, and said “due process” should be known as “Jew process.”

In an article on the Jewish Voice For Labour website Bird wrote: “One thing that worries me is the privileging of racism against Jews as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination such as against black people, Muslim people and people who have crossed borders to this country.”

Bird spoke at a meeting in which she changed a line in the poem to: “They came for the anti-zionists, and I stood up because I was not a target, I stood up in solidarity. And then they came for the socialists but they couldn’t get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party.”

Bird has previously told how her Jewish grandfather “never knew his cousins because they perished in the Holocaust.”

Labour sources have confirmed to Jewish News that the decision taken in July to proscribe four organisations was taken primarily as a means of dealing with groups who downplayed or dismissed antisemitism with the party.

Alongside LATW, those other groups affected include Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) and Resist, founded by ex MP Chris Williamson.

A fourth group Socialist Appeal were proscribed over their roots in the Militant organisation and support for Marxism. Many of those now receiving notification of possible expulsion are attempting to claim the party’s actions are a purge of left wing socialists opposed to leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Other activists to receive notice they face auto explosion include Leah Levane, co-chair of JVL. She has been noticed over her involvement with the LEIN group – including a speech she gave at its virtual conference.

In a response to the charge, posted on JVL’s website the Hastings Labour activist wrote:”I feel angry to receive this letter, but also feel honoured to be in the firing line at the same time and for the same reasons as many other excellent committed socialists.”

She said she had grown up in an “observant Jewish background although grew up in Southall, west London, where Jews were rare, attending a small synagogue with a congregation too small to pay a rabbi, so congregants did everything, including taking services.”

Graham Bash, the long term partner of Jackie Walker, who was herself expelled from Labour over claims involving antisemitism and Ian Hodson, leader of the bakers’ union BFAWU, are others to have received notices of auto expulsion.

All those notified of the charge are offered the opportunity to challenge it.

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