Jeremy Corbyn ally Jackie Walker urged to quit over fresh anti-Semitism row

Posted On: 
28th September 2016

A senior figure in Momentum is facing calls to resign after saying it would be “wonderful” if Holocaust Memorial Day was not focussed solely on Jews.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigned alongside Labour activist Jackie Walker at the beginning of September
Credit: 
PA Images

Jackie Walker, who has recently appeared alongside Jeremy Corbyn, also said she had not heard a definition of anti-Semitism from Labour she could “work with”.

The comments sparked outrage at the Labour conference training session she was attending, and provoked calls from the Jewish Labour Movement for her resignation as vice-chair of the pro-Corbyn Momentum campaign.

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The row exploded shortly before Labour leader Mr Corbyn denounced the “evil” of anti-Semitism in his keynote conference speech.

In a video captured during the meeting, Ms Walker can be heard saying: “In terms of Holocaust day wouldn't it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experienced holocaust...

“In practice it's not actually circulated and advertised as such."

She added: "I came in here ... and I was looking for information and I still haven't heard a definition of anti-Semitism that I can work with.”

Elsewhere she lamented a “catch-22 situation” that those who deny a remark is anti-Semitic are denounced as anti-Semites themselves.

Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, demanded Ms Walker resign over the comments. 

"I am appalled that somebody who has already caused great hurt and pain to so many Jewish people by promoting an anti-Semitic myth would come to a training session designed to help party activists address anti-Semitism and use the occasion to challenge the legitimacy of the training itself,” he said.

"To denigrate security provision at Jewish schools, make false claims about the universality of National Holocaust Memorial Day and to challenge recognised definitions of anti-Semitism is provocative, offensive and a stark example of the problem facing the Labour party today.  

"As Vice Chair of Momentum Jackie Walker has consistently failed to demonstrate any sensitivity to the impact of her words and actions upon the Jewish community.  She must now consider her position, show some sensitivity and contrition or resign.”

Ms Walker later tweeted that "all holocaust denial is acceptable. All should be commemorated from whatever period," although she later corrected the comment to read:

 

 

Ms Walker, who is herself Jewish, was suspended by Labour in May after she claimed Jews were "the chief financiers of the slave trade" - although she was later reinstated.

Earlier this week she said allegations of anti-Semitism were being exaggerated to undermine Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party.

During his big conference speech this afternoon Mr Corbyn addressed criticisms head on that he has failed to deal adequately with anti-Semitic and discriminatory abuse online.

“Our party must be a safe and welcoming space for everybody and we will continue to take firm action against abuse and intimidation,” he told the hall in Liverpool.

“And let me be absolutely clear, anti-Semitism is an evil.

“It led to the worst crimes of the 20th century, every one of us has a responsibility to ensure that it is never allowed to fester in our society again."

He added: “This party always has and always will fight against prejudice and hatred of Jewish people with every breath in its body.”

A poll released today found the overwhelming majority of British Jews believe the Labour party is too tolerant of incidents of anti-Semitism.