Labour’s anti-Semitism row spills on to the front pages of today’s papers. ‘Labour is the real nasty party’, says the Daily Mail, following up remarks made at an event on the fringes of Labour conference. The party votes today on rule changes aimed at sending out a message that Labour will not tolerate anti-Semitism. But at another event at Labour’s conference last night, a speaker suggested that many of the charges of anti-Semitism levelled at the party were simply ‘politically motivated’.
Speaking at the launch of Jewish Voices for Labour, Oxford Professor Avi Shlaim told the audience that:
‘I shall argue that many of the charges of anti-Semitism that have been bandied about during this period (the last two years) are politically motivated. They are motivated by a group of hardline friends of Israel within the Labour party and disgruntled Blairites.’
Professor Shlaim’s remarks were greeted with applause. He then continued, suggesting that some of the accusations had:
‘…the objective of weakening the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn’.
His remarks went down well with the 400-strong audience who had turned out at the launch of the Jewish Voices for Labour, a new organisation for Jewish members of the Labour party. Those at the group’s inaugural event were told to turn their phones off or leave the meeting. Mr S. wonders why they weren’t keen on the publicity…