The new Shadow Education Secretary has said the “horror” of institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party had prompted her to speak openly about her Jewish background.
Kate Green said she hadn’t known her father was Jewish until just after she entered Parliament as the MP for Stretford and Urmston ten years ago.
“For a long time, I didn’t talk about it,” she told Limmud’s Together UK Summer online event on Sunday, "partly because it was private. It was my story, my parents hadn’t talked about it, I felt I had to protect their privacy”,
That became less pressing after her father’s death a couple of years ago, she explained.
“But as the horror of institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party unfolded in front of me, it became harder and harder for me not to talk about the fact that it was personal for me too.
“I felt like I was either trying to cover up it – I couldn’t take the abuse others were taking – or that I just wasn’t quite being honest to people about why I was saying some of the things I was saying.”
The former Shadow Equalities Minister – who replaced Rebecca Long-Bailey after she was sacked by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in June – was one of the speakers at an antisemitism rally in Manchester two years ago.
Revealing her Jewish background had been a “bit of a bombshell” for people, she said. “It probably made my voice more powerful and that was one of the reasons why it was right for me to do it.”
Since learning about her father’s roots, she said it had been a tremendous pleasure to get to know her Jewish extended family.
While she hoped that Labour would be seen as different now, it had a “long road to travel” to restore the trust of the Jewish community.