A Labour MP has told a campaigner against antisemitism in the party to “just f*** off”, during an online spat about a prospective candidate
Ilford North politician Wes Streeting had an online spat with Euan Phillips, who is a spokesperson for the ‘Labour Against Antisemitism’ group.
The row was initiated after Streeting shared a video with prospective parliamentary candidate Ali Milani, speaking about his past antisemitic comments, and how he has learned about Jew-hate since, even visiting Auschwitz on an educational trip.
Milani’s offensive tweets date from 2012 and 2013, and include one tweet insulting former newspaper editor Piers Morgan as “a zionist” and another written in response, saying: “Nah u won’t mate. It’ll cost you a pound #jew.” He issued an apology in 2017,.
Streeting said: “@ARMilani_ ’s remarks were inexcusable, but he should also be judged on how he’s listened and learned”.
The MP’s tweet was met with an angry reaction from members of the community, with Deputy on the Board, Tal Ofer, saying he’s “had enough of these ‘journeys’ where offenders apologise just because they got caught. Such a person mustn’t be a parliamentary candidate and I truly hope the @JewishLabour aren’t going to canvas for him in any form.”
In response, Streeting said Milani’s situation “is a journey. It requires proof and genuine change. But we’ve got to give change a chance or what’s the point?”
Euan Phillips then replied to Streeting, saying his comment “qualifies as the lamest defence of #LabourAntisemitism from a so-called moderate I have ever seen. And there have been a few.”
Lashing out at Phillips, the MP defended his remark, saying: “Oh please just do one, Euan. I am saying very clearly that there’s a place for genuine repentance and redemption. Of course there is. But if you’re throwing stones at people for excusing antisemitism honestly just f*** off.”
Speaking to Jewish News, Wes Streeting MP said: “My own record on relentlessly challenging antisemitism within the Labour Party, from getting antisemites thrown out to challenging the Leader of the Labour Party for his own failings, speaks for itself.”
“Unfortunately, Euan Phillips’ otherwise commendable work on calling out antisemitism within the Labour Party has recently descended into an increasingly shrill pattern of attacking people in the Labour Party who spend considerable amounts of time challenging antisemitism, including Jewish members.”
Phillips accused Milani of having a “track record of making and posting antisemitic comments which should disqualify him from running for any public office.”
He urged Streeting “to reconsider his apparent support for Mr Milani, and I hope that on more sober reflection he might also reconsider how he engages with volunteer campaigners like myself who have made tackling Labour antisemitism a full-time job.
“Labour Against Antisemitism’s 15,000 page digital dossier was a key submission in the EHRC’s decision to investigate the Labour Party, and it would be appreciated if he could respect the time and effort our members spent producing that document while his party seemingly sat and did nothing.”
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