EXCL John McDonnell defends 'inflammatory' meeting with Jewish Voice for Labour chair

Posted On: 
9th October 2018

John McDonnell has defended his decision to share a platform with a campaigner accused of "baiting" the majority of British Jews.

John McDonnell has said the anti-Semitism row has shaken Labour "to its core".
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor will attend a meeting in Barnet, north London, to support Jenny Manson's bid to become a Labour election candidate.

Ms Manson is the chair of Jewish Voice for Labour, which was set up to counter allegations of anti-Semitism in the party and is a strong defender of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

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However, she has been criticised for defending Ken Livingstone at a disciplinary hearing after he claimed Adolf Hitler "supported Zionism".

She also once told a meeting that she had "begun to identify as a Jew in order to argue against the state of Israel and its behaviour".

Adam Langleben, who lost his seat on Barnet Council in last year's local elections, hit out at Mr McDonnell's decision on Twitter.

He said: "There are few ways that he could damage the situation with our Jewish community further, but somehow he is managing it.

"John McDonnell holding a public meeting with JVL's Jenny Manson is inflammatory and is baiting most British Jews. Jenny Manson, delightful as she may be personally, has politics that disgust the vast majority of British Jews."

Mr Langleben added: "This meeting on Thursday is basically a big F*** You to the vast majority of the Jewish community. Just when I thought that understood the issue more than many he does this. JVL is a vehicle that endulges antisemites and Holocaust deniers."

But Mr McDonnell told PoliticsHome: "Jenny is a good friend and I am fulfilling a longstanding commitment I gave her to offer her my support in seeking selection as a candidate."

In August, the Shadow Chancellor said the anti-Semitism scandal which has dogged Labour in recent years had "shaken us to the core" and vowed to tackle it.