A row broke out on the second full day of the Labour Party conference in Brighton over a cartoon poster depicting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sending a rocket with the word “defamation” on it in the direction of a caricature of Jeremy Corbyn. The Netanyahu figure is shouting the words “antisemite”.
The banner, which also shows Corbyn pointing at a lectern with the Palestinian flag and the caption “Palestinian rights” was first displayed in the public area outside the official conference zone on Sunday morning, but matters soon grew heated when an unidentified member of the public attacked the poster and slashed it in half.
Palestinian supporters mended the banner with black tape but a second attempt was made to destroy it and police were called.
Next to the cartoon, a caption read: “IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance): Tell the NEC (Labour National Executive Committee) how you feel.”
The Labour press team saw the banner and tweeted their unhappiness. They had no hesitation in describing it as antisemitic and said they had asked the police to ensure its removal.
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) September 22, 2019
Later speakers at the Jewish Labour Movement rally condemned the posters. Seb Dance MEP said: “I was appalled when I turned up at the conference today to see two disgusting cartoons. I am pleased to say the police have removed these.” And MP Stella Creasey said there should have been a queue around the block to tear the posters down.
But Stan Keble, secretary of the Labour Against the Witchhunt group, which had a stand outside the conference centre, told the JN he did not regard the cartoon as antisemitic and claimed there had been three attempts to destroy the banner and prevent free speech.
Labour Against the Witchhunt was due to hold at least one fringe event at the conference but said that a reporter from the Jewish News could not attend as they were deemed to be “hostile”.
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