JVL member who spoke of ‘Jewish lobby’ is running to be Golders Green candidate
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JVL member who spoke of ‘Jewish lobby’ is running to be Golders Green candidate

Exclusive: Corbyn-supporting university lecturer Justin Schlosberg is on seven-strong shortlist for the constituency

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Golders Green
Golders Green

A member of Jewish Voice for Labour who has played down the extent of antisemitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s party and spoken of a “Jewish lobby” is among those in the running to be the Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green.

Justin Schlosberg is on a seven-strong list vying to fight for the seat at the next general election but JVL chair Jenny Manson, who had been expected to seek the nomination, did not apply.

A senior lecturer in journalism at Birkbeck University and supporter of Corbyn, Schlosberg last year penned an article describing the Board of Deputies as a “non-elected body consisting primarily of Tory-voting and Trump-endorsing members”.

While he described antisemitism as “a real and present problem within the left and the Labour Party which must be rooted and stamped out robustly”, but he believes it’s “nowhere near as extensive as many assert; that it is more of a problem on the right, including in the Tory party; that attention to antisemitism in this wider political context is being deflected and skewed by a politically and ideologically-driven smear campaign against Corbyn’s Labour; and that efforts to confront the root and manifestations of antisemitism in the left are being hampered by a climate of hysteria and repression fostered by Westminster, the media, and the right-wing Jewish lobby”.

Justin Schlosberg (Twitter)

In the same piece, he asserts that the Labour leader was wrong to declare last year that the notorious London mural whose removal he questioned six years earlier was anti-Semitic and to express regret – arguing that there had been mixed reactions to the artwork in 2012 when he originally made the remarks.

He also authored a report for Media Reform Coalition which alleged widespread misleading and inaccurate media reports on Labour antisemitism, with a focus on supporters of the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition and a failure to quote critics. He later signed a letter to the Guardian alongside Ken Loach and Noam Chomsky saying “significant parts of the UK media have failed their audiences by producing flawed reports that have contributed to an undeserved witch-hunt against the Labour leader and misdirected public attention away from antisemitism elsewhere, including on the far right”.

Sara Conway, a councillor in Barnet and the co-founder of a local Jewish-Muslim women’s group, is joined on the long-list by fellow Jewish hopeful Andrew Kaye. The other candidates are Christian Wolmar, who sought the nomination to be Labour’s mayoral candidate, Simon Thompson, Roly Hunter, Rob Wakely, Mary Asaria and David Knowles.

Conway, a member of Jewish Labour Movement, told Jewish News she was putting herself forward after “much thought” to be Labour’s candidate to be a “strong local voice for real national change – rebuilding our community together”.  

She added: “There is so much I would like to be saying about how the Tories are absolutely failing our constituency and our country. However, I totally understand why I am being asked about antisemitism in the Labour party. I’m fortunate to be part of a Labour Group and a Local party where so many people have so much understanding and empathy. But Labour has clearly recognised it has an antisemitism problem, which it must now address more effectively. people should never have to choose between being part of a community and a political party.”

The local party must now whittle down the candidates ahead of hustings at the end of March.

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