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The shamelessness of the Labour moderates

30 October 2019

5:37 PM

30 October 2019

5:37 PM

Anti-racism campaign Labour Against Anti-Semitism (LAAS) has today issued its position on the General Election. LAAS, responsible for exposing a litany of anti-Semites in Labour’s ranks, warns party members that ‘Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister and that the Labour Party is unfit to be in government’. It says Labour poses ‘the greatest risk to our democracy and to the safety and security of the British Jewish community’. As such, they urge the general public to vote ABC: ‘Anyone but Corbyn’. 

Other positions are available, most notably from Labour MPs who once spoke of Corbyn in the same terms as LAAS. But where are they now? 

Stephen Kinnock said in 2018 that Labour anti-Semitism was ‘a full-blown crisis’. He also attended the Enough is Enough rally at Westminster and earlier this year urged an investigation into a senior Welsh Labour figure who backed suspended MP Chris Williamson. 

Where is he now?


Lucy Powell demanded in 2016 that the party ‘make sure people understand that anti-Semitism has no place either in the Labour party and British society’. When Corbynistas tabled a no-confidence motion against Jewish MP Luciana Berger, Powell said it was ‘totally shameful to our party and movement’ and told Labour to ‘get a grip’. When another Jewish MP Louise Ellman quit Labour over anti-Semitism, Powell called it ‘our loss and a sad reflection on us’. 

Where is she now?


When Jewish Labour MPs were being targeted in 2016, Alison McGovern said:

‘Inaction in the face of this racism is not an option.’

McGovern, chair of the formerly moderate pressure group Progress, once became emotional during an LBC interview on the subject. In a speech last year, she said:

‘A party that cannot demonstrate it can deal with vile anti-Semitism can’t govern and nor will it deserve to.’

Where is she now?


Ben Bradshaw signed an open letter demanding Labour withdraw the whip from Chris Williamson. In 2018, he said:

‘It is inexplicable to most decent Labour members and voters that the Labour Party, the party of equality and anti-racism, can have allowed such a damaging row to carry on for more than two years.’

Earlier this year, he called on Labour to ‘adopt a completely zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism’ and admitted ‘[w]e wouldn’t tolerate racism of any other kind in the party’.

Where is he now? 


Yvette Cooper said earlier this year that Labour wasn’t ‘acting fast enough’ and warned that ‘our party has to prove we are taking action against anti-Semitism’. This summer, she pressed for ‘urgent action’ in response to the Panorama expose and signed a letter pledging ‘solidarity with the Jewish community and with Jewish members of the Labour party’, adding that it was ‘totally unacceptable that Jewish members no longer feel welcome or safe in the Labour party’. 

Where is she now?


What about Tom Watson? In 2016, he said Labour had to ‘send a very clear signal to people in our party that we will have a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism’, and promised: ‘We are going to deal with this.’ He professed himself to be ‘shocked, chilled and appalled’ by the Panorama revelations and called for automatic exclusions for anti-Semites.

What about Wes Streeting? He’s a long-standing ally of the Jewish community — there’s nothing he wouldn’t tweet for them. Last year, he said:

‘I also genuinely fear how a Labour government in the present circumstances would treat the concerns of the majority of Britain’s Jews’

What about Jess Phillips? In 2016, she called for Ken Livingstone to be expelled. In 2018, she was one of a phalanx of Labour MPs to escort Jewish colleague Ruth Smeeth to the hearing of an activist who accused her of working ‘hand in hand’ with the Daily Telegraph against Corbyn at the launch of Labour’s 2016 anti-Semitism report. She said Labour’s victory in the Peterborough by-election, where their candidate had liked a Facebook post saying Theresa May had a ‘Zionist Slave Master’s agenda’, ‘shows that anti-Semitism is becoming normal in the party’.

Watson, Streeting and Phillips, like many more Labour MPs, activists and members, once swore solidarity with British Jews, said they must be heard, warned the party didn’t deserve government until it stamped out anti-Semitism.

Finally, an election has been called and they will be able to give substance to all their words and tweets and tears. 

Where will they stand? Where are they now?


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