Labour reinstate councillor who made jokes about ‘Jew process’

Posted On: 
15th March 2019

Labour have reinstated a councillor who made jokes about “Jew process” during a meeting on anti-semitism.

Jo Bird has been allowed back into the party after she apologised for her remarks.
Credit: 
PA

Jo Bird was suspended by the party earlier this month when a recording of her comments was published by the Jewish Chronicle.

The Wirral councillor, who is Jewish, had talked about the “privileging of racism against Jews” over other forms of discrimination at a meeting of Labour activists.

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Councillor Bird, who is a member of pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour, called for disciplinary hearings into cases of anti-semitism to be put on hold "until a due process has been established".

To laughter and applause from some of those in attendance she added: "It's what I call a Jew process."

She added: "One of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above - as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism."

Later in the recording, Ms Bird was heard reciting her own version of the post-Holocaust poem,“First they came for…”, which she had adapted to focus on Labour’s battle with anti-semitism.

She said: "They came for the anti-zionists, and I stood up because I was not a target, I stood up in solidarity. And then they came for the socialists but they couldn't get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party."

A Labour source revealed the Ms Bird had the suspension lifted after a disciplinary panel handed her a formal warning over the comments.

Last week, Ms Bird told a council meeting she had received abuse and death threats after the recording was made public.

In a speech, which was boycotted by Tory councillors, Ms Bird claimed she had received messages saying “it’s time for Jews to leave the country”, and other in which she was called a “nazi”.

She added: “As you know from our last council meeting, this Birdie has a self-deprecating sense of humour.

“I am sorry for any offence caused by my play on words – that was not my intention.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms. All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”