Jackie Walker was accused of ‘failing to demonstrate any sensitivity to the impact of her words … upon the Jewish community’ [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

Jackie Walker was accused of ‘failing to demonstrate any sensitivity to the impact of her words … upon the Jewish community’. What about her accusers’ own failure to demonstrate sensitivity – that they might be causing problems themselves? [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

Am I the only one to see the significance of this happening at a training day, where mistakes may legitimately be aired in order to be corrected?

This Writer has appeared at an event marking Holocaust Memorial Day (a reading from The Investigation by Peter Weiss which contains some harrowing information, many years ago) but I must confess I have never been led to associate it with other atrocities.

As for the definition of anti-Semitism, I make an attempt at this in my new book, The Livingstone Presumption (available in eBook form for the bargain price of £1.99, here) but Ms Walker suggested David Schneider’s version, which is also good:

160929-david-schneider-anti-semitism(I like the first point. Certain people in the Israeli establishment have been working very hard to do exactly what is claimed here. What does that make them?)

What the Guardian story doesn’t provide – significantly – is the definition that was offered on the training day itself, so we have no way of judging whether Ms Walker was justified in taking issue with it.

Finally there is the issue of Jewish organisations needing high security to protect themselves from anti-Semitism – and I am confused.

Is this a reference to a situation here in the UK? If so, why was Ms Walker’s comment about security at her child’s school countered with a comment about IS attacking a school in Toulouse which, unless I am mistaken, is in France?

Issues of national security come into play when discussing cross-border matters; France has been criticised by its own people over its response to the threat of terror attacks – against anybody, not just Jewish people.

If it is a reference to the UK, then I wonder how much ill-feeling has been stirred up by those accusing others, rather than by any actual anti-Semitism?

Of the allegedly anti-Semitic messages Naz Shah sent – that sparked the initial allegation against the Labour Party in April – only one could be interpreted reasonably as having that intent. Her suspension was lifted a few weeks ago.

Allegations of anti-Semitism against Ken Livingstone are on similarly dodgy ground, relying on a lack of historical knowledge and a manipulation of the context in which his words were spoken. Read The Livingstone Presumption for more details.

And Jewish NEC member Rhea Wolfson also – improbably – fell foul of anti-Semitism claims when Jim Murphy tried to scupper her bid for election to that committee by claiming the organisation supporting her – Momentum – was a hotbed of anti-Semitism.

It still surprises me that people believed anti-Semites were supporting a Jewish candidate for election to the organisation that lays down the law in the Labour Party.

So we’ve had one allegation after another proved false – including those that were originally made against Ms Walker.

But the people making those allegations are still pushing their fake case.

Is it beyond the pale to speculate whether any real incidents are a reaction against their belligerence?

Momentum’s vice-chair, Jackie Walker, is facing calls to resign after she incorrectly criticised Holocaust Memorial Day at a party antisemitism training session for commemorating only Jewish victims.

Walker also took issue with the definition of antisemitism used at the training event, which was organised for members at the annual Liverpool conference by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

“In terms of Holocaust day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experienced holocaust?” she told organisers, heard in a recording of the event.

Holocaust Memorial Day is intended to commemorate all victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and other genocides, including atrocities in Bosnia and Rwanda.

During the training event, Walker also questioned why Jewish organisations, including schools, said they needed high security to protect themselves from antisemitic attacks.

Momentum has not responded to a request for comment, but in a statement Walker denied questioning the need for security at Jewish schools and also apologised for any offence she may have caused.

Source: Momentum vice-chair under pressure to resign over antisemitism row | Politics | The Guardian


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