Rhea Wolfson: She has homes in two constituencies so This Writer would urge her to join the CLP that has not rejected her and seek its nomination instead of Eastwood's.

Rhea Wolfson: She has homes in two constituencies so This Writer would urge her to join the CLP that has not rejected her and seek its nomination instead of Eastwood’s.

To paraphrase Owen Jones, this goes beyond satire.

Here’s the situation: We all know Ken Livingstone has been suspended from the Labour Party, pending an investigation into whether his remarks brought the party into disrepute. This means he could not stand for re-nomination to the party’s ruling organisation, the National Executive Committee.

Livingstone threw his full support behind the woman who took his place on the ballot papers – left-wing activist and Jewish Scot Rhea Wolfson.

Ms Wolfson therefore became the only Jew standing for nomination to the NEC. This is important.

Equally important is the fact that Ken Livingstone – suspended amid allegations that his words were hostile to Jews – supported this Jew’s nomination.

I’ll let Ms Wolfson take up the story – from a message she posted on her Facebook page:

“Over the past few weeks, I have been delighted to receive support for my candidacy for Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) from a broad spectrum of opinion within the party, including nominations from dozens of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). It is clear that many members want to see me elected to the NEC.

“However, I am now concerned that a faction of the party are trying to take that option away from the membership. To appear on the ballot I needed to secure, amongst other things, the nomination of my home CLP.

“Last night Eastwood CLP, where my family home is, met to nominate candidates for the NEC. It was proposed that, given I am currently a member of the CLP, there would be a straight vote for or against my nomination. I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further. Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me. He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-Semitism. The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.

“Needless to say, this is hugely disappointing. It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging anti-Semitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced. But above all, it is disappointing because I know there are many members who want to vote for me, who could now have lost that opportunity. I am considering my options going forward.”

So, according to Jim Murphy, the only Jew to be nominated to the NEC had the support of an organisation that was anti-Semitic. Does that seem even remotely likely?

Yet, using this argument, Jim Murphy managed to ensure that the only Jew to be nominated to the NEC failed to meet its qualifying standard.

Looking at actions rather than words, compare Mr Murphy and Momentum. Which comes across as the anti-Semite?

In fact, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Jeremy Corbyn needs a sympathetic, left-leaning NEC to prevent Blairites, who are still disgruntled about his victory in last year’s leadership election, from stirring up difficulties for him. Jim Murphy is a Blairite who is not fond of Jeremy Corbyn. Oh… and so is John Mann, whose attack on Ken Livingstone triggered his suspension from Labour

So it seems accusations relating to anti-Semitism are really just a blind, and the real target is Jeremy Corbyn. John Mann should be challenged for his opinion of Jim Murphy’s behaviour. The reply should be illuminating.

Perhaps most shocking is the behaviour of the Jewish membership of Eastwood Constituency Labour Party, who allowed Murphy to lead them by the nose into blocking Ms Wolfson so brazenly.

It seems appropriate for other Labour branches and constituencies, considering these events, to recommend that Mr Murphy be referred to the party’s current inquiry into racism – and for both he and Mr Mann to be referred for disciplinary action on the grounds that they appear to have conspired to affect the outcome of the NEC elections.


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