Corrie star remembers Manchester campaigner

Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh was among friends and family who remembered a radical-left Manchester Jewish campaigner whose book spurred MP John Mann to chair the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Steve Cohen, who died in March, described himself politically as a “dangerous Jew”. An immigration-law barrister from Prestwich, he set up the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, fighting legal battles for asylum seekers.

Historian Bill Williams recalled him as a highly controversial character. “The immigrant community have lost a fearless campaigner and we have lost an anti-racism campaigner,” Mr Williams said after the memorial meeting.

In 1984, Mr Cohen wrote That’s Funny You Don’t Look Antisemitic, a book exposing antisemitism within far-left and anti-Zionist political campaigns.

Its reappearance on the website of anti-boycott group Engage prompted Mr Mann to comment: “Steve was a great man. His book is responsible for my preparedness to take on the All- Party Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism work.”

    Last updated: 3:24pm, July 9 2009