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

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

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.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: