Left-wing journalist: Antisemitism panel will set back racism fight ‘lightyears’
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Left-wing journalist: Antisemitism panel will set back racism fight ‘lightyears’

Anger after Novara Media’s Rivkah Brown brands communal leaders on Labour’s new advisory board 'not anti-racist'

Rivkah Brown
Rivkah Brown

A prominent left-wing journalist has doubled down on her accusation that most of Labour’s new antisemitism advisory board are “not anti-racist,” claiming they would put the fight against racism in the party back by “lightyears.”

The board, which counts the Board of Deputies Marie Van Der Zyl and Jewish Labour Movement’s Mike Katz among its number, was established in the wake of the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism in the party.

Rivkah Brown, a commissioning editor at Corbynite outlet Novara Media, has criticised the board’s makeup, saying that the majority are characterised by not being anti-racist.

Speaking on Novara’s TyskySour podcast, she said: “These are not people I trust with an antiracism agenda.

“These are people who’ve expressed a very specific and particular interest in antisemitism in the Labour Party during the Corbyn years, but don’t seem to have broadened that.”

Members of the panel have hit back at the accusation, with Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust telling Jewish News: “If anybody is surprised by this, they obviously weren’t paying attention to Labour’s antisemitism problem.”

Mike Katz responded: “According to Rivkah & her friends at Novara, at least five of us on Labour’s Antisemitism Advisory Board aren’t anti-racists.

Mike Katz and Dame Margaret Hodge, Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, during a press conference by the JLM at the offices of Mishcon de Reya in London, following the publication of damming anti-Semitism report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

“So five (or more) of us are racists, right? Who? I mean, you wouldn’t just make up a serious charge like that for clicks and giggles, would you?”

Meanwhile, Adrian Cohen, a trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council, slammed the outlet, saying: “Frankly they are part of the reason we have ended up with an advisory board.”

His organisation, the JLC, added that it was committed to “restoring relations” with the Labour Party, “which were so severely damaged by Jeremy Corbyn and his cheerleaders.”

Marie van der Zyl

Asked which members of the board are not anti-racist, Ms Brown, who is also editor Jewish media platform Vashti, said: “From Marie Van Der Zyl’s shameless Trumpeteering to Margaret Hodge’s flowers from the BNP to Mike Katz’s undying loyalty to Labour’s anti-black staffers, there is no universe in which Keir Starmer’s new “antisemitism advisors” could be considered anti-racists.”

“They are people who will tell the Labour leader exactly what he wants to hear – which is to say, not very much – and set back the fight against racism within the party by lightyears.”

Membership of the panel was unveiled last week, with Labour saying advisors would be a “act as a sounding board and critical friend.”

The nine-strong panel is chaired by David Evans, Labour’s general secretary.

Other members include Natascha Engel, from Antisemitism Policy Trust, Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and Baroness Jan Royall.

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