CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Corbyn queues: Are they back?

Momentum members debate anti-semitism

24 August, 2018 — By John Gulliver

SPEAKERS at a packed meeting in Holborn on Tuesday evening issued what amounted to a “call to arms” to the Labour Party to resist “biased” and “cruel” attacks over alleged antisemitism.

Hundreds gathered in long queues outside Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, many members of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn protest movement Momentum.

A small group of opponents, some holding the Israeli flag, were caught up in a shouting match with those queueing on the pavement.

At least 500 filled the hall – while scores couldn’t get in.

It was reminiscent of heady meetings run by the Labour leader in his election campaign two years ago.

The “heavy” speakers – including Richard Kuper and Lindsey German – argued effectively that it was not “antisemitic” to criticise Israel and that allegations against Corbyn had been fabricated by his enemies to “smear” and unseat him.

Younger speakers – one, a young candidate in the coming elections for Labour’s national executive committee – were more vehemently critical of Israel, describing it as a “settler colonial” entity.

A rousing finish by the author and left-wing campaigner Tariq Ali called on Labour not to “muzzle” Corbyn in the battle over antisemitism.

It had to be faced – and Labour shouldn’t be frightened to resist it.

Meanwhile another mass meeting of Momentum members, in Kentish Town on Monday, significantly approved a motion demanding that all Labour Party members should be allowed to vote on a definition of “antisemitism” and that it should not be left to a coming NEC session. Rumblings at the meeting suggest rifts in the organisation and criticism of its founder Jon Lansman.

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