CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Momentum should side with the Jews over the racists

30 August, 2018

• CAMDEN Momentum should side with the Jews over the racists. There is a proud tradition of protest and demonstration on the left of our politics.

On Tuesday, September 4 Camden Momentum intends to tarnish that tradition. Some of its members are planning an anti-anti-racist demonstration (and yes, the double-negative is not flattering) against the Labour Party adopting the internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism, in favour of a weaker one deliberately designed to let racists off the hook.

It is increasingly clear that Camden Momentum is divided between genuine socialists and absolute cranks. Socialists are supposed to be “anti-racist”, whereas Camden Momentum’s leadership seems determined to make Labour a safe haven for bigots and a hostile environment for Jews.

Someone showed me a comment on the Facebook page dedicated to this grubby outing where a user with the avatar “Jon Eldude” even asks: “Could Jon Lansman be a MI5 or Mossad agent”? – a clear anti-Semitic slur against the Jewish founder of Momentum, trading on the age-old trope of a Jewish conspiracy.

All this, after a summer which Labour has completely squandered in being apparently prepared to die in a ditch to dictate to a minority community what they presume to allow us to be offended by, rather than using its energies to challenge Brexit or the crisis facing our public services.

This week we have even seen the ignominy of far right extremists like ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin and former Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke praising a 2013 speech by Jeremy Corbyn in which he questioned the “Britishness” of UK Jews who were Zionist.

Surely, most Labour members want to move us away from these embarrassments. Not Camden Momentum, apparently, who appear to have unquenchable appetite for more.

It is time for those who joined Momentum out of a desire for genuine social justice to come out of hiding and stop this spiral of disgrace. People on the left should side with the Jews over the racists.

The Battle of Cable Street in October 1936 was a proud moment when the left, including socialists, communists and trade unionists, joined forces with Jews to protest against Oswald Mosley’s anti-Jewish marchers.

I am sure that, were this historic event to repeat itself, Camden Momentum would attend. But, from their current posturing, it is no longer clear whose side they would be on.

PHIL ROSENBERG
Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party Member
Finchley Road, NW3

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