Morning Star editorial on Jackie Walker typifies hard left hostility to Jewish beliefs

The paper repeatedly denounced mainstream Jewish positions


The Morning Star editorial of 5 October attacked Momentum and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

While they subsequently published a strong rebuttal by Jon Lansman, defending Momentum and acknowledging left antisemitism, the editorial’s antagonism against JLM typified the hard left’s broader hostility towards mainstream British Jewish positions.

Those hostilities strongly influence the current crisis between the Labour Party and the mainstream of British Jewry and are outlined below in the order they occur in the editorial.

1. Wrongly saying that Jackie Walker was called antisemitic   

The editorial is about Jackie Walker being removed as Momentum vice-chair by the Momentum steering committee. It wrongly states this was:

“…in response to allegations by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) that this black Jewish woman made anti-semitic comments…”

In fact, JLM did not use the word “antisemitic”. JLM described Jackie Walker as being:  

provocative, offensive and a stark example of the problem facing the Labour party today”

(See JLM’s statement here in the Guardian).

The hard left routinely alleges that mainstream British Jewish groups call people antisemites, but such language is very rarely used in leftist contexts by JLM, CST and other leading UK Jewish groups.   

2. Hateful depiction of mainstream UK Jewish-Zionist sentiment  

Instead of acknowledging JLM’s strongly pro-two states and anti-Netanyahu politics, the editorial malignly summarises it as:

“It [JLM] supports Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian people, Tel Aviv’s wars against its neighbours and rejects the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign…”

This repeats how normal Jewish support for Israel or Zionism is maliciously spun in hard left circles, causing hostility to mainstream Jewish positions and risking antisemitic outcomes. It is fundamental to how Labour ended up in its current mess with Jews.     

(For UK Jewish attitudes to Israel and Zionism, see here and here.)

3. Describing British Jewish groups as Israeli agents

The editorial says JLM “is effectively an arm of Israel’s Labour Party inside Labour”.

This is a deep charge, mirroring how mainstream UK Jewish groups are accused in far left, far right and Islamist circles of acting for Israel or Zionism, rather than for British Jews. It resounds with older antisemitic themes of Jews as hostile liars, conspirators, always alien to their host and untrustworthy.  

4. Wrongly claiming UK Jewish groups do not reflect majority Jewish opinion

Having malignly portrayed JLM as supporting Israeli wars, dispossession of Palestinians and being an arm of Israeli Labour, the editorial states:

“Many British Jews, including Labour members, reject that stance and oppose this zionist group having pride of place to put forward unchallenged its view of what constitutes anti-semitism.”

Naturally, JLM does not represent all Labour Jews (even without the malicious summary of its politics), but it does represent most of them: and to call JLM “this zionist group” spins mainstream Jewish opinion as not merely outside Labour, but as conspiratorially hostile.    

The hard left champions Jewish anti-Zionists, as if their egocentric behaviour somehow negates the fundamental point that mainstream Jewish groups simply reflect and represent majority UK Jewish opinion, including on Zionism and  understandings of antisemitism.  

5. Calling Jews liars on antisemitism

The editorial summarises the antisemitism fears as:

“…the wave of largely spurious allegations of anti-semitism being rampant in the party”.

Rejecting Jewish concerns as fakery, has underpinned far left reactions to antisemitism throughout the post-2000 period. During that time, combined heightened antisemitic, anti-Zionist and anti-Israel hatreds have left many European Jews questioning their future, causing many thousands to emigrate to Israel and elsewhere.

The hard left does nothing against this. If anything, it helps fan the flames. This is the big picture against which the Labour controversy occurs, and why it is so important for British Jews.

UK Jewish organisations have not described antisemitism as ‘rampant’ in Labour, but have stressed the importance of understanding and reversing the situation. For example, see the CST / Jewish Leadership Council submission to the Chakrabarti Report.

The hard left’s misrepresentation of what groups like JLM and CST actually say about Labour has been hard-wired since this controversy began. Their contempt for the majority Jewish position contrasts with their eager citing of racism in other settings.   

The editorial also describes reactions to Jackie Walker as:

“…a tidal wave of feigned shock and outrage designed to produce maximum impact.”

This repeats the claim that Jewish concerns are faked lies, when witnesses to this latest Walker controversy know the reaction in the Labour Conference training room was utterly genuine and spontaneous. 

6. Wrongly asserting that the left cannot be antisemitic

After all of the above, the Morning Star finally gets to the point:

“left anti-semitism” – an absurd formulation comparable with left racism or left Islamophobia.”

Because really this is their premise. The Morning Star, whilst denouncing mainstream British Jewish positions, and ordering British Jews how to feel and behave, simply believes that the left, definitively, cannot be bracketed with antisemitism.

According to their own ideological theory, the Morning Star may be correct, but such revolutionaries are rarely tolerant of alternative opinions. Furthermore, in these would-be revolutionary circles, Jews and Judaism are regarded with scientific certainty as some kind of weird dinosaur class, outmoded and basically destined to gradually disappear come the revolution.

Until the revolution comes, the Morning Star will keep telling Jews and (especially) today’s Labour Party what to do: but should the paper ever actually become Labour’s house daily, mainstream ordinary Jews will know that their lengthy relationship with the Labour Party is finished.   

Mark Gardner is director of communications at the Community Security Trust

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11 Responses to “Morning Star editorial on Jackie Walker typifies hard left hostility to Jewish beliefs”

  1. Robert Jones

    If the Morning Star ever became the house journal of the Labour Party, it’s not only Jews who would want no more to do with it.

  2. CR

    Labour have become the very nasty party.

  3. Michael WALKER

    the Morning Star has still not lost “its reputation for bone-headed Stalinism”, says Paul Anderson, a former editor of the socialist weekly Tribune. “It runs articles extolling the virtues of single-party ‘socialist’ states on a regular basis – North Korea, Cuba, China, Vietnam. Its default position on just about everything happening in the world is that anything any western power supports – but particularly the United States – must be opposed, which has led to it cheering on Putin, Hamas, Assad and a lot of other real nasties.””

    So a paper with a circulation of c 10,000 a day is hardly worth worrying about…

  4. Peter Brooke

    I haven’t been following the internal debate within Labour as closely as I should have done so I can’t comment on the language used by groups like CST and JLM but phrases like ‘rampant anti-semitism within the Labour Party’ have been very much part of the reporting of the mainstream media. If this isn’t what JLM and CST believe I’d like to think they were issuing corrections. But I don’t see why this article should accuse Jewish anti-Zionists of ‘egocentric behaviour’ because they disagree with mainstream Jewish political views. I am an Ulster Protestant. I don’t remember the Labour Party condemning anti-Unionist Ulster Protestants of egocentric behaviour though they were certainly disagreeing with the mainstream views current within their own community..

  5. Martyn Wood-Bevan

    The Jewish voice of the Left-Wing is not given any publicity. The Right-Wing Jewish Groups see to that, with their friends in the Establishment and the MSM. I am tired of it as are hundred’s of thousands of Labour Supporters who never seem to get a voice and are keen for a change of record – Boring!

  6. chris owen

    I really, really welcome this article. I am so glad that I have read it. I would consider myself a member of the hard left (well, compared to the mail anyway!). This article explains to me why some people think I’m anti-semitic when I don’t think I am. It seems to me that we need a strong discussion by sensible people on both (or many) sides because I genuinely think that both sides have wrong beliefs about what the other side thinks of them, and this article confirms this. As always the MSM revel in that confusion – divide and rule etc. I have always known that there are countless very brave jews who have fought, and continue to fight, on the side of the left (sometimes when no-one else did!) but I also know that there are powerful vested interests, particularly in the UK labour and US democratic parties that exploit those passionate supporters. I also know that the left has a strong tradition of fighting anti racism and protection of ‘otherness’ but also recognise that there will always exist some form of racism wherever there are human beings and organisations.
    I have noticed in the past that the MSM has often found ways to divide the labour party and perhaps this is another one. It seemed very coincidental that the recent MSM vilification of Corbyn seemed to go hand in hand with the rising calls of antisemitism from Jewish organisations. Is this the MSM playing tricks on us? Do most Jews in the labour party believe they are being victimised? Or is this the media telling us that most jews think this? Is this, Jews listening to the MSM and believing that they are being vicitmised? Or are they really being victimised? Sometimes when your whole world view is constructed from the imaginary reality created by the BBC et al, it is very hard to know what is really going on – even in your own life.
    Of course there are passionate views on both sides whenever the discussion arises but I do think that if leading lights of our party – ‘sensible’ people on both sides could come together to discuss what is established labour party policy, what are legitimate forms of criticism to and from both sides, what the different elements of the party can agree to differ on, then we could eliminate at least most of the paranoia on both sides and recognise that we are all on the left and we have far more in common than that we disagree on.

  7. Hilmon

    Hate crimes are everywhere. Labour, the Morning Star and Twitter are said to be anti-Semitic. Left Foot Forward is pretty much a specialised anti-anti-Semitic blog. Where will it all end? Someone has no doubt started a hate blog against all hate blogs. That would be self-referential. Hard to figure. Blame Bertrand Russell (or, failing him, Jeremy Corbyn).

  8. Mick Hills

    So, again, this article is aimed at keeping the argument going that the Labour Party is in essence against the Jewish nation. It links Labour unashamedly with the Morning Star in an attempt to smear both the Party, its members and of course the real target the Labour leadership. It is outrageous frankly and deepens the divide in the Party which of course is the intent. I have been in the Labour Party many years and have never encountered anti-Jewish sentiments.

  9. Stephen Bellamy

    JLM ? Is that not the org whose Director is freshly seconded from the Israeli Embassy? And who’s Chair lied his butt off in an attempt to have a TRADE UNION falsely branded as antisemitic ? And who, in consequence, was described by the judge as ” a preposterous, arrogant liar with a worrying disregard for diversity and plurality” ?

  10. Hilmon

    I thought I knew what Left Foot Forward was about. But it seems to have gone walkabout. Your current obsessions will drive me away – and many more subscribers, based on the comments above.

  11. Martyn

    In the JLM statement you link to Jackie Walker is accused of “promoting an antisemitic myth”. Additionally it should be noted that her point about difficulty in finding a working definition of anti- semitism she could work with is almost identical to the point made by the recent Home Office Select Committee.

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