Ally of 'Jewish Trump fanatics' activist elected to Labour equalities body

Ann Henderson has been confirmed as new chair of the National Executive Committee’s equalities subcommittee


An ally of disgraced Labour activist Pete Willsman - who was exposed by the JC over his “Jewish Trump fanatics” remarks -  has been elected as the new chair of the party committee that oversees antisemitism cases.

Ann Henderson, a rector of the University of Edinburgh, was confirmed as new chair of the National Executive Committee’s (NEC) equalities subcommittee at their annual general meeting at the party’s headquarters in central London on Tuesday.

But the appointment is certain to cause anger among Jewish Labour activists, who will point to Ms Henderson’s continued support for Mr Willsman during his own successful bid to be elected to the NEC.

Ms Henderson maintained her backing for him even after he was dropped by left-wing group Momentum following the JC’s publication of a recording of his controversial remarks on antisemitism last July.

Ms Henderson, who was elected on the Momentum slate at last year’s Labour NEC election, was also condemned by Edinburgh University Students President Eleri Connick over her failure to advocate for the UK Labour party to adopt the complete International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

“All Jewish students should feel safe and comfortable in Edinburgh,” said Mr Connick, last August.  “Therefore, it is disappointing that our rector has chosen not to advocate for the UK Labour Party to accept the complete IHRA definition of antisemitism.”

Ms Henderson last year declined to respond to the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) when asked for her “views on the IHRA definition on antisemitism”. The JLM, officially affiliated with the UK Labour Party since 1920, have publicly stated that “allowing Jews to define their own prejudice is a matter of principle”.

Her election to the NEC equalities subcommittee was also condemned by the Labour Campaign For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Rights.

The group cited her alleged “appalling history” of “sharing material that has been described as transphobic”.

Embarrassingly for Labour, Ms Henderson’s role is now as chair of a committee whose job is to monitor equality amongst members.

Tuesday’s meeting was expected to discuss the many outstanding cases of alleged antisemitism not yet ruled on by the Labour Party.

The agenda was also set to include discussion of a controversial Islamophobia definition said to have been decisively influenced by the Islamist group Mend.

The JC revealed earlier this month how the Board of Deputies had considered backing the definition proposed by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims until they were told of the influence extremist Islamist groups had played in drawing it up.

Labour’s NEC has become dominated by pro-Jeremy Corbyn, left-wing activists – with many of its members having a history of making controversial remarks about antisemitism and the Jewish community.

Claudia Webbe, elected chair of the NEC’s disputes panel, once defended Ken Livingstone after he likened a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard and has appeared on the Iranian government-backed Press TV channel.

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