EXCLUSIVE: Jewish Labour Movement hits out over reinstatement of activist after anti-Semitism row

Posted On: 
29th May 2016

The Labour party is failing to live up to claims it has a “zero tolerance” approach to anti-Semitism, a group representing Jewish Labour members has said.

The Jewish Labour Movement is an affiliate of the official Labour party
PA Images

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), a formal affiliate, hit out after Jackie Walker was reinstated to the party after saying Jews were the “chief financiers of the slave trade”.

The JLM told PoliticsHome: “Walker repeated an anti-Semitic slur. She showed no contrition.

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“The outcome of this process shows, once again, that the political rhetoric of zero tolerance on anti-Semitism is not matched by action. This is why we are proposing changes to party rules."

The group is seeking to change Labour’s rules to make it easier to expel and ban members for life if they are found guilty of anti-Semitism.

Ms Walker, the vice-chair of South Thanet Labour party in Kent and a senior official in the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group Momentum, was initially suspended earlier in May after a conversation on Facebook.

Ms Walker had asked: "What debt do we owe the Jews?"    

When a fellow user replied “the Holocaust", Ms Walker – who claims to be part-Jewish – said: "I hope you feel the same towards the African holocaust? My ancestors were involved in both.

"Many more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues today on a global scale in a way it doesn't for Jews.

"And many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade."

A Labour spokeswoman said yesterday: “Following the outcome of an investigation, Jacqueline Walker is no longer suspended and remains a member of the Labour party." 

Elsewhere, the Israeli Labour party said Jeremy Corbyn had not responded to a letter sent a month ago inviting him to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

Human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti is currently leading an inquiry into anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in the Labour party.

The probe was organised following a string of anti-Semitic incidents involving party members.

Ken Livingstone was suspended from the party after comments he made arguing Hitler was a Zionist “before he went mad and murdered six million Jews”.

The former Mayor of London was trying to defend Bradford West MP Naz Shah, who was suspended over a series of Facebook posts about Israel.