Jewish Labour MP facing 'intimidation and hostility' from party members

Posted On: 
5th April 2016

A prominent Jewish Labour MP is being targeted by party activists "hell-bent" on attacking her, it has been claimed.

Louise Ellman has urged Jeremy Corbyn to tackle anti-Semitism in Labour
Credit: 
PA Images

Louise Ellman has faced an "orchestrated" campaign by members in her Liverpool Riverside constituency, according to the city's assistant mayor, Nick Small.

The allegations come just days after Ms Ellman, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said Jeremy Corbyn must do more to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.​

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According to the Jewish Chronicle, the veteran MP has faced verbal attacks at constituency meetings over the past two months.

During one gathering in February, one member is said to have compared tunnels being dug from Gaza into Israel to those created by Jews trying to escape Nazi persecution in the Warsaw ghetto.

Last week, one activist is also alleged to have accused Israel of backing Isil, while some hard-left activists said the global rise in anti-Semitism was “down to the existence of Israel”.

Mr Small said: “I found these comments offensive and believe that they have no place within the broad church of the Labour party.

“There are a tiny but vocal group within our CLP who seem hell-bent on attacking our MP in an orchestrated, horrible, personalised way.

“They are trying to create an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility that is making many members, particularly Jewish members, feel deeply uncomfortable.”

Speaking at the weekend, Ms Ellman said: "Most members of the Labour party are not anti-Semitic but some are and some are being allowed to get away with posting anti-Semitic comments in tweets and on their websites.

"The leader has spoken out clearly, he says he is against anti-Semitism. But it's not just about words – there has got to be some action and we haven't seen enough of that.”

A Labour spokeswoman said: “The Labour party takes all complaints seriously and will investigate appropriately."

Ms Ellman's comments sparked a furious outburst on Twitter from Jeremy Corbyn's brother, Piers. He described her remarks as "absurd" and added: " cant cope with anyone supporting rights for ”.

The Labour leader today told The Sun "my brother isn't wrong" and added: "My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree. We are a family that were brought up fighting racism from the day we were born.”

CONTROVERSIES

The party has been hit by a wave of anti-Semitism rows in recent weeks.

Vicki Byrne, deputy chair of the party's Woking branch, was suspended for a second time this month after anti-Semitic Twitter posts she made in 2011 and 2014 re-surfaced.

That was followed by the suspension of a senior Labour councillor who appeared to post anti-Semitic messages on Facebook.

Reports surfaced last month that Jewish students were harassed and intimidated by members of Oxford Labour Students.

Mr Corbyn has repeatedly condemned anti-Semitic behaviour, while Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has called for life bans for perpetrators.