Now McDonnell faces suspension after claiming antisemitism has been ‘weaponised’

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Now McDonnell faces suspension after claiming antisemitism has been ‘weaponised’

Shadow chancellor signs letter saying: 'We abhor the weaponization of Jewish pain against the project of socialism and the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership'

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Former Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Former Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

John McDonnell faces suspension by the Labour Party after signing a letter claiming antisemitism has been “weaponised”.

This comes after the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into antisemitism, which found that the party broke equality law when Jeremy Corbyn was in charge. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said after the report’s findings were published, that “there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. That it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack. Then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

When Jeremy Corbyn refused to fully accept the EHRC’s findings and said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”, he was suspended by Labour.

On Saturday John McDonnell co-signed a letter by  Progressive International, entitled “we stand with Jeremy Corbyn”, which says Corbyn “not only spoke out about the ills of antisemitism in British society broadly. He also took the issue of antisemitism in his own party seriously, listening to the concerns of Jewish constituents and improving the process for investigating and sanctioning cases of antisemitism.”

“As fierce opponents of antisemitism ….we abhor the weaponization of Jewish pain against the project of socialism and the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in the United Kingdom.”

“The evidence of such efforts to weaponize the issue of antisemitism is clear”, signatories say, claiming most Brits “now believe that a third of Labour Party members .. are the subject of antisemitism allegations. The truth is less than 2,000, less than 0.3 per cent of the party.”

The McDonnell-signed letter also claims the “campaign against the character of Jeremy Corbyn did not begin with the issue of antisemitism, and it will not end here. A principled defence of the Jewish community demands that we distinguish between genuine appreciation of the community’s pain and cynical attempts to ride it toward political reaction.”

Mr McDonnell told Jewish News: “I have said all along from when the EHRC first launched its investigation that we should accept its recommendations and work with it to ensure their implementation.”

That’s exactly what we should and will do. I will also always defend Jeremy Corbyn from unfair personal attacks in him. That’s exactly what I do. There is no contradiction in that.”

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.

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