Shortly after I read this letter, a commenter (who does not approve of Ms Walker’s behaviour) told me a little story about the comedian David Schneider, whose definition of anti-Semitism she put up against that of the Jewish Labour Movement.
He said (on Twitter, so it’s there for you to see) that, as the Momentum steering committee stated, “taken individually” Ms Walker’s words were not anti-Semitic. But in his opinion, lumped together, they were.
He may be David Schneider, and he does deserve respect for a Twitter account that is a work of genius, but he’s still only one voice among many, and the majority seem to be in support of Ms Walker.
In that context, here’s the letter from Jewish members and supporters of Momentum, published in The Guardian.
As Jewish members and supporters of Momentum, we do not believe that what Jackie Walker said during a training event at Labour party conference was antisemitic (Walker stripped of Momentum role, 4 October). You report Jackie as saying that “she had not found a definition of antisemitism she could work with”. This is not surprising – there isn’t one. The Jewish Labour Movement, which ran the event, states that the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism’s working definition on antisemitism is the standard definition, despite the fact that its successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, has junked this definition, which equates criticism of the Israeli state with antisemitism. Jackie also stated that Holocaust Memorial Day should be more inclusive of other acts of genocide. Why is this antisemitic? It has always been a principle of the Zionist movement that the Nazi Holocaust was exclusive to the Jews. Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has argued that “the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews”. According to Bauer, “the Holocaust is very much a unique case”.
Jackie’s arguments were made in good faith. They may be right or they may be wrong. What they are not is antisemitic. The decision of Momentum’s steering committee and its chair Jon Lansman to remove Jackie Walker as vice-chair is a betrayal of the trust of thousands of Momentum members. Momentum’s grassroots members overwhelmingly support Jackie.
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Professor Emeritus Jonathan Rosenhead
Dr Merav Devere
Dr Brian Robinson
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: