Anger grows over Stonewall boss "antisemitism" comment

Nancy Kelley compared "harmful or damaging" gender critical beliefs and antisemtism


THE boss of Stonewall is facing a growing backlash for comparing ‘gender critical’ beliefs to antisemitism in what has been branded a “gross insult” to victims of anti-Jewish hate speech.

Stonewall’s CEO Nancy Kelley is also facing calls to apologise to the Jewish community for her controversial view.

One leading antisemitism organisation warned Stonewall was “in the grip of fundamentalism” while an academic branded the furore  a “new low” for Stonewall.

The row erupted after the new Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) chairwoman, Lady Falkner, said women had a right to question transgender identity without being subjected to abuse for their views.

However Ms Kelley said while Stonewall believed in freedom of speech, it was "not without limit".

"With all beliefs including controversial beliefs there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they're harmful or damaging - whether it's antisemitic beliefs, gender critical beliefs, beliefs about disability - we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that,” she said.

Challenged as to whether her comments might be thought of as offensive to the Jewish community, she insisted the comparison was appropriate.

"We're talking about protected groups,” she added, “We're talking about people that are protected on the basis of their sexuality, people that are protected on the basis of gender identity, people who are protected on the basis of race and that's why I think the analogy is apt."

A spokesman for Jewish Human Rights Watch said: “It is a gross insult to the millions of victims of antisemitism, both past and present, to compare a reasonable belief in sex and gender to Jew hatred.

“Stonewall is in the grip of fundamentalism when it comes to its gender ideology and this just shows how far it has travelled from reality.    Once again, Jews are caught in the crossfire.  It’s time for Stonewall to properly apologise to the Jewish community and treat it with the respect it demands for other minorities not simply as a convenient metaphor to appropriate for an expression of intolerance.”

Ms Kelley’s comments also drew a furious backlash on Twitter. 

Journalist Laura Marcus wrote:  “I am Jewish. After the last few weeks when Jews haven’t felt safe in this country I find this statement abhorrent, deeply insensitive and very hurtful.”

Bea Jaspert, tweeted: “My mother’s family fled the Nazis.  My 87-year-old great-grandmother was dragged to Auschwitz and murdered.  How dare she!!

Other users branded the comments “beyond crass” and “grotesque” adding that it showed Stonewall had become a “extremist organisation” that should be stripped of its charitable status.

In a Twitter thread, Sociology Professor Alice Sullivan, of University College London, said: “This hateful tactic of smearing women who argue that sex matters as fascists, Holocaust deniers and antisemites has consequences.  It is intended to monster these women in order to justify taking any means to silence them.

“Analogies which make light of the Holocaust and antisemitism always contain an undertone of antisemitism.”

She concluded: “This a new low for Stonewall.”

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