Jim Murphy takes out full page advert to attack Labour leadership over anti-Semitism

Posted On: 
10th August 2018

Former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has taken out a full page advert in the Jewish Telegraph to accuse Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership team of being “intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit”.

Jim Murphy is the former Scottish Labour leader
Credit: 
Holyrood Magazine

The former MP for East Renfrewshire said he had paid for the advertisement, titled ‘In sorrow and anger – and apology’, because he could “no longer remain passive while the current Labour leadership does so much damage to Labour’s relationship with British Jewry”.

Corbyn has faced repeated accusations of failing to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, with MP Margaret Hodge last month accusing him of being “an anti-Semitic racist”.

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The UK Labour leader also faced criticism for declining to embrace the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism in the Labour party’s code of conduct.

Writing in the Jewish Telegraph, Murphy said: “It should never be left to Jews to stand alone against anti-Semitism. The Labour Party should have an important role in tackling anti-Semitism.

“But instead, my party now appears to have deliberately turned its back on British Jewry. It’s as inexplicable as it is destructive.

“And when in a hole of its own making, rather than stopping digging, Labour’s leadership has asked for a bigger shovel.”

He added: “Jeremy is the elected leader and, along with the Shadow Cabinet, has the opportunity to shape party policy. But no party leader has the right to shatter the relationship between British Labour and British Jewry.

“The Jewish community and everyone else who is offended by Labour’s stance are being asked to accept quarter-baked, platitudinous Labour apologies for the ‘upset this has caused’. Instead, what is urgently needed is Labour action against the sickening anti-Jewish racism that is the actual cause of the offence in the first place.”

Murphy was MP for East Renfrewshire between 1997 and 2015, when he lost his seat to SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald. He served as Scottish Labour leader from December 2014 until June 2015, after the party lost 40 of its 41 seats in Scotland in the General Election.

In 2016 he came under fire for blocking Rhea Wolfson, the only Jewish candidate standing for Labour’s National Executive Committee, from taking part in the internal party election because she was backed by Momentum.

She claimed Murphy had warned local party members against endorsing her on the basis that the pro-Corbyn Momentum movement had a problem with anti-Semitism.

Wolfson is the former president of Oxford University’s Jewish Society.

She told the Independent: “I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further.”

“Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me. He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-Semitism.

“The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.

 “Needless to say, this is hugely disappointing. It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging anti-Semitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced.”

In 2008 Murphy was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. He previously served as Minister for Europe as well as Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform.

He was chair of the Labour Friends of Israel from 2001 to 2002.