Mike Katz is a fine one to criticise others about the way they handle “cranks”, “racists” and “extremists”.
When he was vice-chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (a misnomer as you don’t have to be either Jewish or in the Labour Party to be a member), he ran a “training” session on anti-Semitism at a Labour conference that deliberately linked criticism of the policies of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism.
At that same session – billed as a “safe space” for attendees to discuss their understanding of anti-Semitism without fear of criticism – people speaking up were recorded. One of this recordings was then leaked to the press, to tar then-Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker as an anti-Semite.
She had criticised the definitiion of anti-Semitism that Katz had put forward.
After Katz became chair of the organisation, the Jewish Labour Movement has run at least one more training session on anti-Semitism (in 2021). Before it happened, Ms Walker commented: “Undertaking AS training led by the JLM? Ask for assurance you won’t be filmed, reported to the Party or the media.”
Katz was also among those who accused then-Labour MP Chris Williamson of anti-Semitism after he made a speech in which he said the party had been “too apologetic” over the mere accusation of anti-Semtism.
Mr Williamson’s point had been that the party should have collected evidence and made a decision on whether any anti-Semitism had taken place, rather than automatically apologising as if it had, without any evidence at all.
Katz suggested that a decision to reinstate Mr Williamson’s Labour membership after he had been suspended for making the statements was because he represented a marginal constituency and there might be a snap election (this was in 2019).
He was quoted as follows: “It’s good to know that a party of anti-racists, led by an avowed anti-racist decides it’s OK to ignore anti-Jewish racism if there’s a vote to be won.”
But of course there was no anti-Jewish racism in what Mr Williamson had said.
And when Ken Loach announced that he had been expelled from Labour in 2021, for refusing to disown people who had already been expelled under false pretences, Katz accused him of “Holocaust inversion; tropes about a lobby controlling media & politics; claims Jews exploit the Holocaust for political ends.” None of these were in Mr Loach’s statement as reported in The Guardian (Katz’s source).
Katz has also attacked Jeremy Corbyn after The Guardian ran an editorial in support of him. In a letter to that paper, he claimed: “Your assertion that he had “a formidable record fighting against racism” will elicit a hollow laugh from the many Jewish Labour Movement members who suffered racist bullying and harassment – let alone the Jewish MPs hounded out of the party – all under his watch.
“His reluctance to show any remorse and his continual denial and downplaying of the problem makes him the author of his own demise and negates any claim he can make to actually being anti-racist.”
Jeremy Corbyn has been, and remains, probably the most committed anti-racist in Parliament, with a formidable record of support for those suffering racism that spans more than 40 years:
Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies hate this video because it proves Jeremy despises antisemitism in all its forms pic.twitter.com/VSZHJ7ruRI
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) May 19, 2023
How pleasant it is, then, to see Katz’s latest attempt to spread falsehoods about anti-Semitism and racism trashed by members of the public!
On Twitter yesterday (May 19), he published the tweet you see at the top of this article, in which he praises comments made at last week’s National Conservatives conference.
“Keir Starmer has stood up to the cranks and racists in Labour. Rishi Sunak is happy to indulge the extremists in his party,” he tweeted.
Referring to a link in the tweet, he added: “Me for @timesredbox today on the lessons Sunak should learn from this week’s National Conservatism conference.”
Perhaps it would be best to skirt around the issues raised by a man claiming to support Jewish people endorsing comments made by the organisation This Writer describes as the Nat-Cs (think about it).
But his comments about what Keir Starmer has done are certainly fair game – especially considering his own poor record as described above – and Twitter now provides what it describes as “context” added by readers, that absolutely shreds Katz’s credibility.
“Labour’s own Forde Report details how anti-black and anti-GRT racism, and Islamophobia have been allowed to flourish unchecked within the party,” states one such addition.
The other seals it by pointing out: “Labour have not engaged with Martin Forde KC about the report.”
So not only has Katz allied himself with people who might as well call themselves fascists, but he has done it for the sake of a very large falsehood. This Writer thinks he should apologise and resign his position at the JLM. Does anybody agree?
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