EXCL Jeremy Corbyn criticised after appearing with anti-Semitism row activist

Posted On: 
6th September 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised after he shared a platform with a Labour activist who claimed Jews were "the chief financiers of the slave trade".

Jeremy Corbyn appears alongside Labour activist Jackie Walker last weekend
Credit: 
David Ross - Twitter

Jackie Walker was suspended by the party in May for making the controversial comments on Facebook.

She was later cleared of anti-Semitism and reinstated to the party, and has insisted she will not apologise for the remarks.

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A photo was tweeted early this morning of Mr Corbyn standing alongside Ms Walker at a rally in Ramsgate, Kent, last Saturday. The event was organised by Momentum Thanet, of which Ms Walker is a leading member.

Richard Angell, director of the Blairite campaign group Progress, told PoliticsHome that the picture called into question Mr Corbyn's commitment to tackle the problems with anti-Semitism which have beset Labour in recent months.

​He said: "Until the Chakrabarti report is implemented in full, Corbyn should keen clear of those who are unrepentant. It is actions, not words, that matter and appearing with Ms Walker looks like a retrograde step and that tacking anti-Semitism is second to the task of being re-elected leader."

The image will rile Labour members who hit out at Ms Walker’s reinstatement to the party and has also stoked the anger of the Jewish supporters of the party.

Jeremy Newmark, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, told PoliticsHome: "Jackie Walker's remarks have caused deep pain and distress for Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish community.

“She has yet to display any contrition. I hope that Jeremy used his time with her to urge her to reflect on this."

Labour MP John Mann, the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, told PoliticsHome: "I trust that Jeremy is reiterating the report on anti-Semitism and that her [Ms Walker’s] comments were wholly unacceptable in the Labour party."

He added: “I imagine the picture is her apologising to Jeremy and agreeing that her comments were offensive and wholly inappropriate.”

In the posts on Facebook that led to her suspension, Ms Walker had asked: "What debt do we owe the Jews?"    

When a fellow user replied “the Holocaust", Ms Walker – who is 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."

KEN LIVINGSTONE

​The latest row comes on the same day that Ken Livingstone again insisted he was right to say Adolf Hitler once supported Zionism.

The former London mayor has been suspended since he made the comments in May.

Speaking on the BBC this morning, he said: "“I’m still waiting for the committee to sit down and decide whether what I said was true or not, and I think they keep putting it off because the simple fact is I’ve got so much evidence that says what I was saying was true."