Jackie Walker claims Board of Deputies tried to shut down her Edinburgh show

The former vice-chair of the Momentum organisation is due to open her one-woman Fringe show – The Lynching – tonight.


A controversial hard-left activist suspended from the Labour Party has accused the Board of Deputies of attempting to have her Edinburgh Festival show cancelled.

Jackie Walker, the former vice-chair of the Momentum organisation, is due to open her one-woman show – The Lynching – tonight.

She claimed the Board had asked for the show to be cancelled.

But Marie van der Zyl, Board vice president, said it had contacted Edinburgh Council - which owns the venue where she will be performing - to inform the authority of Ms Walker's suspension from Labour "because of her repeated offensive and false comments".

Ms Walker wrote on Facebook this morning: “The Board of Deputies attempts to have The Lynching shut down… thought traditionally Jews were against book burning…”

In an accompanying video she says: “This morning we were told that the British Board of Deputies have written to our venue to ask that they should close down the show.

“What I don’t get about these people is, if they are concerned, why don’t they just come and see the show? Why do they have to stop everyone else coming? You always have to ask why do organisations want people to be silenced?

“Any organisation that wants that, you have to question what they are about.”

Ms van der Zyl said: “Jackie Walker has booked an Edinburgh Council-owned room to perform her monologue at the Edinburgh fringe.

"We contacted the council to inform it that Jackie Walker had been suspended from the Labour Party and removed as vice-chair of Momentum because of her repeated offensive and false comments about Jews being ‘chief financiers of the slave trade’ – which they weren’t; Holocaust Memorial Day ignoring other genocides – which it doesn’t; and Jewish institutions exaggerating the security threat against them – which, given the deadly terrorist attacks against Jewish schools, synagogues and museums in Europe in recent years is both patently false and staggeringly ignorant.

“To compare our intervention to a ‘book burning’ is shameful.”

A Board spokesman told the JC: "We got in touch with the council to express our concern about this performance being held on publicly-owned and funded premises."

The Lynching, which was previewed in Kent in June, is described as “the one woman show about a real-life witchhunt: an attempt to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and an entire political movement”.

Promotional posters for that preview featured an image of Ms Walker next to a dangling rope, overlaid by the words: “To oppose Israel is not to be antisemitic”.

Near the bottom of the poster was a quote attributed to Noam Chomsky, the Jewish far-left linguist and philosopher. It read: “I wholeheartedly support the right of anyone to criticise Israel without being branded antisemitic. That goes in particular for Jackie Walker”.  

She sees the show, according to a press release, as “my chance to tell my side of the story” of the Labour antisemitism row.

In March, a talk Ms Walker was due to give in a church hall was called off following an intervention by the Bishop of Edinburgh.

Ms Walker was twice suspended by Labour last year. The first sanction came in May 2016 after she referred to Jews as the “chief financiers of the slave trade” and following her reinstatement she was subsequently suspended again after the party conference after questioning why Jewish schools needed security and for questioning aspects of Holocaust Memorial Day.

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