Jackie Walker is wrong about Holocaust Memorial Day – and should know better

Those on the left show wilful ignorance when they repeat discredited stereotypes



As a researcher at HOPE not hate, a historian of fascism and a proud member of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Board of Trustees, I read the comments by vice-chair of Momentum Jackie Walker with a mixture of shock and sadness.

Speaking at a much-needed training session on antisemitism at the Labour Party conference, Walker asked: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced Holocaust?’

It is. Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemorates the Holocaust, victims of Nazi persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Even the most cursory of glance at the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website would reveal this information on the home page.

Walker, who was previously suspended from the party over alleged antisemitic comments on Facebook, also appeared to denigrate the need for security at Jewish schools – at a time of heightened terror risks and international attacks against Jewish targets in Europe over the past few years – stating: ‘I still haven’t heard a definition of antisemitism that I can work with.’

Walker has since offered half an apology for any offence caused, though she does not seem to have fully retracted her statements regarding HMD. However, the question remains why she made such ill-informed statements in the first place.

To say things aren’t made clear, as Walker suggests, is clearly a result of her failure to engage with Holocaust Memorial Day itself. Anyone who has attended any of the thousands of HMD events (there are about 5,500 every year up and down the UK) would know how inclusive they are, especially the wonderful national event.

Those who watched last year’s national commemoration on TV or in the audience will not have forgotten the heartbreaking and shocking film, The Bosnian War, featuring Omarska concentration camp survivor Kemal Pervanić.

The charge that HMD is not inclusive enough was also recently levelled by students during the National Union of Students (NUS) conference. Why has such a fallacy seemingly gained traction on parts of the Left? Sadly, the short answer seems wilful ignorance.

The Holocaust was a unique historical event and the scholarly literature surrounding it is vast. The Final Solution was designed to exterminate every single Jewish man, woman and child, thus marking this genocide out as unique in the modern age.

Either purposefully or by mistake, some appear to misunderstand declarations of uniqueness as an attempt to detract from the suffering of other groups in other conflicts and facing other persecutions. It is nothing of the sort.

For some, undermining the uniqueness of the Holocaust can be a means to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel, which they argue draws this legitimacy from the ‘use’ or even ‘abuse’ of the Holocaust. While criticism of Israel and its policies is perfectly acceptable, any attempt to minimise or relativize the Holocaust for political aims in this manner is shameful. Paradoxically it also undermines the legitimate Palestinian struggle.

While the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is absolutely right to commemorate subsequent genocides, and does so proudly, one can’t help but ask why Walker has an issue with commemorating the mass extermination of six million Jews in its own right?

Clearly her latest statements are bad enough but it is worth remembering that she has been caught out before, writing on Facebook: ‘What debt do we owe the Jews?’ and stating that Jews ‘were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade’.

The myth that Jews were behind the slave trade is an import from the American antisemite Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, who pushed the idea in a book titled The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: Volume One.

The conspiratorial antisemitism of the book was exposed by all serious scholars with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at Harvard University calling it ‘The Bible of new anti-Semitism’ and stating that it ‘massively misinterprets the historical record, largely through a process of cunningly selective quotations of often reputable sources’.

In 1995 the American Historical Association issued a statement condemning ‘any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic slave trade.’

The fact that Walker repeated this antisemitic trope shows that she is, at the very least, susceptible to believing negative antisemitic stereotypes. When viewing her latest comments in the context of her history of similar prejudicial statements, it seems clear that her position at Momentum should also be untenable.

It is true that some people on the Right are using antisemitism as a charge to attack the Left, yet it is also true that there is a problem with leftwing antisemitism. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Jeremy Corbyn’s comments yesterday condemning antisemitism as evil are a welcome departure from general denouncements of ‘all prejudice’. Now it is time to move beyond words and condemnations and to act against those engaging in or being sympathetic towards antisemitism within the Labour Party.

Joe Mulhall is senior researcher for HOPE not hate, where this blog was orginally published. Follow him at @JoeMulhall_

23 Responses to “Jackie Walker is wrong about Holocaust Memorial Day – and should know better”

  1. Southpawpunch

    No, Jackie Walker is right about this.

    As Joe writes, Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemorates the Holocaust, victims of Nazi persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

    I Googled ‘holocaust memorial day council’ and lightly searched the website of councils displayed in the result, if nothing on first page.

    The key issue is category 2 – ‘victims of Nazi persecution’ e.g. some Christians, people with disabilities, other ‘races’ e.g. Slavs, other political views (including some conservatives and, of course, the great unmentionables – us communists or revolutionary socialists.)

    In order:

    1. Sheffield – no mention: “On HMD we share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur”
    2. Haringey – can’t see a list
    3. Birmingham – can’t see a list
    4. Newham does mention
    5. Merton has “and other genocides”
    6. Wellingborough does mention
    7. Chelmsford has “and other genocides”
    8. Southwark has “other genocides”
    9. Enfield – can’t see a list
    10. Brighton & Hove – does mention

    That’s proof that HMD everywhere does not specifically list all HMD is designed to commemorate.

    I wouldn’t suggest there’s anything deliberate about this at all and the sort of people who take the time to attend such events will doubtless be opposed to all genocides.

    It’s not big deal but Jackie Walker is right about this detail.

  2. Imran Khan

    No Joe, you are wrong. The left is destroying itself with its Jew hatred. Nothing to do with the right. Hatred of Jews is now entirely of the loony left.

  3. Imran Khan

    I see the Joe Wilding article has been deleted in its entirety. Remember people. ” Immigrants told to leave UK face huge hike in fees to appeal decisions” by Joe Wilding. This was basically an advert for her business as an immigration lawyer and has now disappeared. Will this post?

  4. Elly

    Joe has misrepresented Jackie Walker’s views, and failed to understand the context for what amounts to a political lynching of a life-long anti-racist campaigner.

    1) On the matter of the antisemitism training session:

    In Defence of Jackie Walker:

    We are Jewish Labour activists who were with Jackie Walker at the training session on antisemitism led by Mike Katz, vice chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) during the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Monday September 26. Like her, some of us were heckled when we raised questions unpalatable to others in the audience who share the JLM’s bias towards Israel, its coupling of Jewish identity with Zionism and its insistence on the uniqueness of Jewish suffering.

    Jackie had every right to question the JLM’s definition of antisemitism and the tendency of mainstream Jewish organisations to focus entirely on the slaughter of Jews when they commemorate the Nazi Holocaust. We share her determination to build greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. Jackie responded appreciatively when one audience member described Holocaust memorial events involving Armenians and others. She has since issued a statement on this issue, reproduced below.

    We were shocked at the way the level of barracking rose as soon as Jackie began to speak. JLM supporters demonstrated contempt for her as a Jewish woman of African heritage who is a lifelong anti-racist advocate for the rights of minorities and a leading Labour Party activist in her Thanet constituency.

    We unreservedly condemn allegations of antisemitism made against Jackie Walker. Calls for her to be disowned by the Momentum movement of which she is vice-chair, and for her to be suspended for a second time from the Labour Party, are reprehensible instances of the witch hunt to which she and other Corbyn supporters have been subjected over recent months.

    The way Jackie has been treated demonstrates the unfitness of the JLM to deliver training on antisemitism. It is an organisation committed to one, contested strand of Jewish labour tradition to the exclusion of any other; it relies on a definition of antisemitism that conflates Jewish identity with Zionism; and it exploits its interactions with party members to set the limits of political discourse about the Middle East in accordance with its own partisan ideology.

    By promoting the witch hunt, the JLM has helped to relegate the vile prejudice of antisemitism to a tool in the armoury of pro-Israel advocates, backed by Corbyn’s enemies in the political and media establishment.


    Graham Bash, Hackney North CLP
    Rica Bird, Wirral South CLP
    Leah Levane, Hastings and Rye CLP
    Jonathan Rosenhead, Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP
    Glyn Secker, Dulwich and West Norwood CLP
    Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Chingford and Woodford Green CLP

    A statement from Jackie Walker

    “A number of people made comments in a private training session run by the Jewish Labour Movement. As we all know, training sessions are intended to be safe spaces where ideas and questions can be explored. A film of this session was leaked to the press unethically. I did not raise a question on security in Jewish schools. The trainer raised this issue and I asked for clarification, in particular as all London primary schools, to my knowledge, have security and I did not understand the particular point the trainer was making. Having been a victim of racism I would never play down the very real fears the Jewish community have, especially in light of recent attacks in France.

    In the session, a number of Jewish people, including me, asked for definitions of antisemitism. This is a subject of much debate in the Jewish community. I support David Schneider’s definition and utterly condemn antisemitism.

    I would never play down the significance of the Shoah. Working with many Jewish comrades, I continue to seek to bring greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. If offence has been caused, it is the last thing I would want to do and I apologise.”

    2) On her Portuguese Jewish ancestors role in specific part of the slave trade:

    Jackie describes her background like this:

    I am Jewish, my Russian born Jewish father and Jamaican born mother of Jewish descent brought together in their shared political commitment to the Civil Rights movement of 1950s America. My mother brought me to England in the late fifties. My experience is not untypical of blacks of that generation. I have been a victim of violent, structural, and persistent racism ever since I arrived in this country in 1959. As a young child I was spat at and beaten by adult racists in the street. I was bullied and ostracised at school, have been victimised at work, been refused accommodation and consistently excluded from structures of power. My personal response to this, my own everyday resistance, was not to become a particularist or a separatist but to be a universalist.
    Indeed Jackie has been a long-standing antiracist activist, who used to train police in Dorset in anti-racism. Recently she played an important part in the defeat of Nigel Farage’s UKIP campaign in the Thanet constituency where she lives.

    So an accusation of antisemitism against Jackie is bizarre, to put it mildly. What was the accusation?

    The accusation was based solely on a quote taken out of context from Jackie’s Facebook page on 27th February 2016. It was not a public posting but part of a private discussion with a Zionist friend and others about the African holocaust and the fact that Jews – notably Jackie’s own Portuguese Jewish ancestors whose history she has researched – had been involved in the sugar and slave trade. Her Facebook contribution was reduced to a sensationalist and inaccurate headline in the Jewish Chronicle (in an article which appeared on the same day the Labour party sent her a letter notifying her of the suspension, well before Jackie could have even received official notification): “Momentum Activist says the Jews Caused the African Holocaust.”

    It turns out that her discussion was made public courtesy of the Israel Advocacy Movement which had hacked Jackie’s Facebook page, no doubt as part of its campaign to target and attempt to discredit critics of Israel, particularly those who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

    The lifting of the charge and after

    The Labour party is never very forthcoming about allegations, charges and suspensions or how it comes to its disciplinary decisions. But before the end of May, the charges against Jackie were dropped: “Following the outcome of an investigation, Jacqueline Walker is no longer suspended and remains a member of the party.”

    For Jackie it wasn’t so simple – first being charged, now not, it was impossible to go back to the status quo. The world of hate which unfolded following her suspension might have been extreme – it got a lot worse after the suspension was lifted. Jackie says:

    “As soon as the Jewish Chronicle wrote the first article, trolls circled for the kill, posting spooky blacked up faces (and worse) to my account. The Jewish Chronicle led the attacks, querying my Jewish identity (a racist move in itself), my work as an anti-racist activist and my political commitment.

    When my suspension was lifted the Spectator added its journalistic spleen. Indignation at my alleged breach reached the heights of irony when Nigel Farage, anxious not to miss out on the fun being had by, among others, Labour MPs and officers of the Party, dedicated an article in Breitbart and a good dose of righteous indignation on national TV to publicly calling me out as a racist. This widespread hate campaign led to public abuse, strangers shouting ‘racist’ as I walked to the tube. With the murderous racist political discourse now taking the place of debate I became conscious I was recognisable on the street.

    Then there were the smears, grist to the mill of every witch-hunt, the guilt by association innuendos like reproducing my Facebook post alongside the nonsense peddled by the Nation of Islam. These are barely worth a response except to say the Nation of Islam is an antisemitic group which seeks to set Jewish and Black people against each other. Any examination of my work, my writing, my life, would make clear my opposition to this ideology.”
    What exactly did Jackie write on Facebook?

    Jackie says:

    My aim was to argue that there are no hierarchies of genocide; there is no way to quantify or qualitatively describe the indescribable, the indescribably inhumane acts that are part of our histories. When a friend raised the question of “the debt” owed to the Jews because of the Holocaust I replied “Oh yes – and I hope you feel the same towards the African holocaust? My ancestors were involved in both – on all sides as I’m sure you know, millions 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 which is of course why there were so many early synagogues in the Caribbean. So who are victims and what does it mean? We are victims and perpetrators to some extent through choice. And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a perpetrator.”
    She elaborates:

    Yes, I wrote “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. These words, taken out of context in the way the media did, of course do not reflect my position. I was writing to someone who knew the context of my comments. Had he felt the need to pick me up on what I had written I would have rephrased – perhaps to “Jews (my ancestors too) were among those who financed the sugar and slave trade and at the particular time/in the particular area I’m talking about they played an important part.” The Facebook post taken by itself doesn’t, and can’t possibly reflect the complexity of Jewish history, of the history of Africa, the history of people of the African diaspora and the hundreds of years of the slave trade. The truth is while many peoples were involved in this pernicious trade it was the rulers of Christian Spain and Portugal that ordered the massacre and expulsion of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsular who forced Jewish communities to seek refuge in the New World and the Caribbean. It was European and American Christian empires that overwhelmingly profited from the kidnap, enslavement and death of millions of Africans and I’m happy to make explicit and correct here any different impression my Facebook post gave. The shame is, at a time when antisemitism has been weaponised and used against certain sections of the Labour Party, nobody asked me before rushing to pin the racist and antisemitic label on me.”
    And further:

    “If my historical understanding is shown to be wrong by future research I will of course adapt and change my views as necessary. For the record, my claim, as opposed to those made for me by the Jewish Chronicle, has never been that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, merely that, as historians such as Arnold Wiznitzer noted, at a certain economic point, in specific regions where my ancestors lived, Jews played a dominant role “as financiers of the sugar industry, as brokers and exporters of sugar, and as suppliers of Negro slaves on credit, accepting payment of capital and interest in sugar.” [1][2]

    No people are exempt from truth. No people are better, more moral than any other. None deserve higher protection from the eye of history. All of us are subjects, products of material historical development. As Kagan & Morgan point out, “Jews in the Atlantic constituted a stateless minority, a ‘nation within a nation,’ the counterpoint to imperial cultures of early modern Europe; and yet from the fifteenth century onwards, Jews were also key participants in the effort to expand European empires into the western hemisphere and the broader Atlantic world. In short, they were, as Jonathan Israel has noted, simultaneously agents and victims of empire.”[3]

    This was the point I was attempting to make on Facebook, in a comic-strip, abbreviated, inadequate, deficient sort of conversational way. This was my point, as the Israel Advocacy Movement could see even as they decided to weaponise my words. No peoples have a monopoly of suffering or virtue. No peoples are special or free of the complexity of history. That is as true in the Middle East now as it ever was anywhere, in all places, with all peoples, across the diversity of our globe and so it will remain until, and unless, we achieve the goal of all internationalists – the liberation of humanity.

    [1] Arnold Wiznitzer, in Jews in Colonial Brazil, quoted in Jane S Gerber (ed.) The Jews in the Caribbean (The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2014) p51

    [2] Indeed, Eli Faber says in his book Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight: ”However, their contributions to the sugar industry were far more significant when it came to providing capital, exporting sugar, and advancing credit for slaves. As creditors, according to the historian of the Brazilian Jewish community, “they dominated the slave trade.” Faber’s footnote refers to Witnitzer, The Jews in Brazil, 67-73

    [3] Preface ix, Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism 1500-1800, (ed.) Richard L. Kagan & Philip D. Morgan (The John Hopkins University Press, 2009)


    Jackie Walker’s memoir Pilgrim State appeared in 2008 and was described by Good Reads as “a stunning memoir which tells the story of Dorothy Walker – equal parts beautiful, headstrong, brave and tragic. Her life is lovingly recreated by her daughter Jacqueline in homage to the remarkable woman she was.” In an interview by Tamara Gausi, Time Out says: “Jacqueline Walker’s remarkable Pilgrim State employs the story of her mother, Dorothy, to create a mythically charged meditation on blackness, Britishness, and belonging.” Louise Carpenter reviewed the book in the Guardian (13 April 2008) in Who are you calling a bad mother?


    Appendix: Response to Chakrabarti

    Here, as a separate item, though relating to some of the themes in the discussion above, is Jackie Walker’s response to the Chakrabarti report, marginally revised by her and posted on her Facebook page on 6 August.

    [Just to say … since I made a comment on Black Lives Matter and the Chakrabarti Commission I have been inundated with racist comments …. again!

    For information, this was my response to the Report – I re-post it as it seems many commentators are entering into a debate at the moment on a report they haven’t actually read ……or thought too much about.]

    Shami Chakrabarti’s Inquiry into Anti-Semitism and Racism in the Labour Party made big news soon as it was published – and for all the wrong reasons, just one of the ongoing consequences of the “occasionally toxic atmosphere” that is “in danger of shutting down free speech within the Party rather than facilitating it.” Chakrabarti makes it clear her intention is not to “close down debate on delicate issues around all kinds of personal and political differences within the Party” but to conduct these debates “in a more trusting and constructive environment.” My response is made with the same intent.

    As a recently suspended Labour Party member, and the only person as yet (at the point of writing) exonerated, I was bound to read Chakrabarti’s report, and the coverage that followed, with more than a little interest. I write as a long time Labour Party and anti-racist activist for whom Chakrabarti’s findings are personally and politically important. My partner is Jewish, his family observant, but I comment as a woman of mixed Jewish and other heritages who identifies as, and is perceived by others as, a black person of African descent.

    Much of the mainstream media response to the Inquiry focused on anti-Semitism, was superficial, poorly informed or with one intent – destabilising Labour and its present leadership. Chakrabarti’s generally well expressed ‘state of the Party’ contextualisation of race relations, and her many well thought through and sensible recommendations, were sidelined as charges of anti-Semitism yet again took centre stage, immediately undermining the Inquiry’s key findings on BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) members.
    At the core of the debate is the way competing claims by minorities are positioned in the (at this point in time) supercharged arena of Labour Party politics. In the political arena, perhaps more than elsewhere, race is about power – who has it, who is chosen to represent the Party, who gives power to others and how that power is communicated. Two areas are highlighted in the part of the Chakrabarti Report that focuses on BAME members – that of representation and vocabulary.

    Chakrabarti begins with evidence; that in 2010 the BAME community voted for Labour more than double in relation to whites. She describes an unwelcoming environment and a lack of representation at all levels, including in Parliament, but also in the administrative structures of the Party, singling out the lack of black members in the NEC for special mention. What an irony then that it is the voices of people of colour, in particular those of African descent, that were so effectively sidelined in reporting of the Inquiry.

    In today’s Labour Party Chakrabarti situates anti-Semitism within a set of feelings and responses as reported in many submissions by some in the Jewish community. Stereotypes limit the ability of peoples to be treated and respected as individuals and Chakrabarti’s comments on the need for sensitivity in the language of debate, whether on issues that relate to Israel or elsewhere, are to be welcomed. But there is acknowledgement that it is power, or the lack of it, that excludes and discriminates against BAME people in the Party, as it does of course in the rest of society. Blacks do not only feel under-represented, or stereotyped in the Party. They are under-represented. They may be members and supporters, they are of course, particularly in Labour’s urban heartlands, often the foot soldiers and voters, but BAME members are effectively excluded where it matters – from power.

    Given the terms Chakrabarti was given for her inquiry, with the separation of anti-semitism from other forms of racism, it is however difficult to see how this focus on one minority, could have been avoided. If anti-Semitism is set apart from ‘other forms of racism’, can we be surprised when the Inquiry fails to attract a significant number of submissions from BAME groups, or when black individuals are significant only by their absence at its launch? The reception of the Inquiry in the media and elsewhere underlines the relative powerlessness of the BAME community. The paucity of any black response, at a national level, confirms the exclusion the report attempts to redress. In this three card trick discrimination against BAME members is the card that appears, I hope only for the moment, to have been made to magically vanish.

    I come now to the issue of vocabulary, in particular comments on the use of the term ‘holocaust,’ a point that concerns many people of African descent who await both recognition or recompense for past wrongs inflicted.

    Chakrabarti makes plain her Inquiry is an attempt to bring people together. To stand in solidarity, as Chakrabarti suggests all minorities need to, people of African descent must see the structures that exclude them from power, and have kept them silenced for so long, being changed. This is the only way in which attempts to build an inclusive Party will succeed.

    Groups that have suffered oppression need to have conditions, a level playing field, in which they can form united political fronts, working in solidarity with others, rather than having to fight for a place at the table, forever bogged down in disputes about equity, access to power, or the meaning of the past. If the Party does not succeed in this, Labour will remain entangled in the impossible task of being a moral referee as minority ethnic groups engage in a ‘competition of victimhoods’ in order to gain, build or protect recognition.

    Others have argued elsewhere for dropping the use of the contested terminology of ‘holocaust’ and replacing it with ‘genocide’. Some suggest opening Holocaust Day more fully to all communities that have suffered mass murder. As Jews retain the word Shoah, so peoples of African descent refer to Maangamizi for their holocaust. Maangamizi describes the slave trade and history of enslavement when millions of Africans were killed, tortured, kidnapped and enslaved for profit but it also refers to the genocides and deprivations of colonialism and the ongoing, consequential suffering and oppressions of peoples of African descent.

    I am in agreement with Chakrabarti there are, and can be, no hierarchies of suffering. The Inquiry rightly warns of dilution of effect ‘if every human rights atrocity is described as a Holocaust’. However, I cannot see the term ‘holocaust’ as something the Labour Party can, or should police, though it may provide a useful forum where terminology can be discussed. As ever, the Labour Party must recognise the right of minorities to both name themselves and choose how their history is narrated.

    I trust in the strength of people of colour to keep with the struggle to change society for the better. I place my trust in the ability of the labour movement to not just listen to the experience of people of but to act in solidarity with them. It is with hope, as ever, that I ask our leaders listen to the concerns of people of colour whose voices before, during the Inquiry, and even now, remain barely attended to.

  5. CR

    Labour has become the real “Nasty Party” with its continuing problem with antisemitic racism.

  6. Becky

    I also think Walker was wrong on this too. However, the worse thing she said as far as I’m concerned is the absolute untruth that Jews were responsible for the slave trade. As I see it, this is just as bizarre and offensive as blaming the Jews for the other, similar array of historical tragedies such as the First World War, the Wall Street Crash, hyper-inflation in Weimar Germany…do you see where this is going? I wonder if she’d have been reinstated in the Labour Party if she’d said that Jews were responsible for Germany losing WWI, for instance!

  7. Becky

    Moreover, what’s wrong with having a specific day to remember the victims of the holocaust? Why the need to add remembrance of the victims of other tragedies to it? If someone were to suggest that Black History Month become simply History Month because it wasn’t only black people who were slaves at any given time then they’d most probably be racists with an ulterior far-right white supremacist agenda attempting to erase the black experience of racism and slavery.

  8. Paul Franklin

    I was brought up as an anti-semite. I’m 67 years old. I know very well what it is. It isn’t like ‘other forms of racism’. It’s very special. I am also a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. I feel that we’re all now going through a very important moment of education. Expelling Walker will achieve little. Unpicking her confusion would be better. It took me a lifetime to really understand how Jews feel about this. Don’t expect any quick answers. But please do let us discuss. This is most important.

  9. Imran Khan

    I knew I knew the name southpaw punch. He usually writes barely coherent rubbish of Tendency Coatsie. I think he is still of the opinion that the former corrupt Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman is innocent and was the victim of an Islamophobic conspiracy.

  10. Ro Atkinson

    I think it is unfair to make any accusation towards the Labour party that it is now the ‘nasty party’ based upon the heavily weighted accusations of antisemitism. The Labour party is trying desperately to stamp out all antisemitism and prejudice of any kind. To suggest that they are not doing so is to suggest that their policies might include trying to avoid getting into power by any means. It is not logical that they would look at the criticism and accusations of antisemitism and think to themselves, ‘we really aren’t trying hard enough to offend here, we ought to ramp up our efforts’. It is on the other hand very logical to assume that the PR teams on the right would be putting a huge amount of effort into perpetuating the ridiculous accusations in an effort to keep Labour out of power. It is better to judge a political party by its actions, not by the accusations made at it by those who wish to keep it out of power. If political parties are judged according that their actions then it is very clear to see that the tories remain the ‘nasty party’. Their actions are harmful to all without prejudice, unless you count the favourable treatment for the greedy, selfish and exploitative.

  11. John

    Go far enough left and you always end up on the far right.

  12. Dragonfighter

    @Southpawpunch you blame the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the failings of various councils websites, looking at the ruling groups of each of the councils mentioned and their information on HMD:
    1) Sheffield: No Mention – Labour
    2) Haringay: Can’t see a list – Labour
    3) Birmingham: Can’t see a list – Labour
    4) Newham: Does Mention – Labour
    5) Merton: has “and other genocides” – Labour
    6) Wellingborough: does mention – – Conservative
    7) Chelmsford: has “and other genocides” – Conservative
    8) Southwark: has “other genocides” – Labour
    9) Enfield: can’t see – Labour
    10) Brighton and Hove: does mention – Labour largest party.

    So all four councils that don’t mention the inclusiveness of HMD are Labour, a conspiracy theorist might suspect that there was bias involved.

  13. madf

    Senior leader of Momentum – who has been in trouble before over Jewish remarks – makes fresh remarks at the Exact time Mr Corbyn is under pressure on anti-semitism and has promised to crack down on it.She also claims she does notuinderstand what anti-semitism is.

    She must have a tine ear and disregard or not think about what she says. It’s not as if she is a simple member – she is a senior Leader in Momentum. Thus forcing Mr Corbyn to take action – whether he wants to or not.

    She is either very stupid, dissembles or really does not care what she says.

  14. Lawrence Hearn

    The co-opting of the Holocaust by the openly racist regime in Israel to perpetuate its own crimes against humanity which include torturing Palestinian children, not so secret nuclear weapons deployment, perpetual siege and occupation of Palestine (recognized by over 150 UN members), flouting international laws whenever it suits its aims, and on and on is the real problem. Once again no mention of the mass murder of Rom people (the only ethnic group that it is still ok to discriminate and persecute in many European countries) isn’t even mentioned. Opposing such ongoing criminality by Israel is not anti-Semitism, it is human decency. As for the involvement of Jewish ‘traders’ is certainly nt something that should be ignored, nor shoulf the involvement of the Hanoverian Monarchy whose decendants still lurk in the background of British politics.

  15. Southpawpunch

    No, I don’t blame anyone – not the HMDT nor councils – I specifically say “I wouldn’t suggest there’s anything deliberate about this.” I also know, as a former council employee, that what is written on council websites about workaday matters like this will have no input from councillors at all.

    They are minor oversights but they also support an argument of Jackie Walker (as I understand it) – ‘many people wouldn’t realise HMD also commemorates other than the Shoah.’ A pretty almost mundane thing for her to say and with no hidden agenda I can see – but also something that has been twisted into the worst possible light by the Right.

  16. John Webster

    I note this ‘blog’ doesn’t accuse Ms Walker of antisemitism. What concerns me is the partisan way that Hope not Hate appear to have used this issue to attack her, and joined with the right wing of the Labour Party to try and undermine its current Leader. In my view this undermines Hope not Hate.

  17. Martyn Wood-Bevan

    All this is the result of a training session having its confidentiality deliberately breached by someone in the session who obviously had malicious intent. It is gross misconduct and should have led to the immediate suspension of the perpetrator. How can we have mature and informed debate in these circumstances. Definitions of Anti-Semitism seem to be variously adopted by different groups and individuals. Is it not reasonable that this is debated in an atmosphere of trust and openness and not just be used for nefarious political purposes, which further distrust and uncertainty.

  18. Dougal Hare

    The above comments from the Momentum cadres more than illustrate why so many of us on the centre-left want nothing more to do whilst the Labour Party is under the control of Momentum.

  19. Awart

    ‘I still haven’t heard a definition of antisemitism that I can work with.’
    Mrs. Walker is free to propose one herself or deny the whole phenomenon. Lack of definitions does not necessarily imply lack of fact denoted by the defines terms.

  20. oisinthered

    J Walker needs to visit the Weiner Library and Museum for the Holocaust & Genocide, she could learn a lot. Her comments appear unworldly as regards security at Jewish schools. I appreciate that she was in a group exploring issues to do with diversity where confidentiality was breached, but she should know better as a leader in a political group. even her choice of the word “wonderful” is disturbing; HMD is not a carnival. I imagine that many commemorative events may be organised by groups with a Jewish heritage and/faith and maybe this has led to misunderstanding, but the whole concept of HMD has always been about genocide in history from various conflicts. Being reminded of the ethos behind HMD, ironically, is a grain of positivity, emerging from this challenging of what it is to be Jewish today.

  21. Holman

    UKIP has a scuffle. Momentum throws out a Jew. What a hell of a week.

  22. chris owen

    From a researcher of ‘HOPE not hate’ I would expect to see a balanced article with an understanding of
    more than one perspective (or at least an attempt). This is a rant worthy of a facebook trogledyte. It breathes hate rather than hope.

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