A Labour student activist has revealed that the backlash she received for speaking out against antisemitism led her to contemplating suicide.
In a moving Twitter thread, 19-year-old Hull University student Isobel Housecroft spoke of her disappointment in her fellow Labour members who denied the existence of antisemitism in the party.
She said that the worst comments she heard included those which branded Israel an “illegal state”, and she was even called a “dirty Jew” by a Labour colleague – despite not being Jewish.
Ms Housecroft’s depression was triggered following her decision to be interviewed for the BBC Panorama exposé on antisemitism in the Labour Party – although her filmed segment was cut at the last minute.
A few days before she was due to be interviewed, “a friend and Labour supporter told me there’d be ‘long-term consequences’ to speaking out and said most of my Labour friends would never speak to me again because of it. I was ‘betraying Corbyn’ and that wasn’t ok.”
Thread on Labour Antisemitism and mental health.— Isobel Housecroft (@IsHousecroft) October 23, 2019
CW / mentions of suicide
Been wanting to speak about this for a while, and now I’m through the worst of it, I feel able to. 1/10
Ms Housecroft, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, told the JC she later experienced feelings of “guilt” over speaking out on the behaviour of her Labour colleagues.
She wrote: “I couldn’t see a way to speak out and not lose/disappoint friends. I didn’t realise I was doing the right thing and that those people didn’t matter. I couldn’t see a way out, so I contemplated suicide. I wrote a note apologising to my family and friends for failing.
“I’m very lucky and very grateful to have been talked down. In the hours and days after the documentary, I was inundated with supportive messages that I still sometimes read. Alongside this came the meaningless platitudes from people who’d been complicit for four years.
“We talk the talk on mental health in the Labour Party but I’m afraid we don’t walk the walk. Others spoke about feeling suicidal and received no support. We claim to care about whistleblowers but were prepared to take legal action against those in our own party.”
She said that when she first reported online antisemitism – when she was aged 17 – she received a “torrent of abuse from the so-called left,” describing the ordeal as “horrendous”.
Ms Housecroft praised those in Labour and the Jewish community who offered her support in the wake of her participation in the Panorama programme, including Tracy-Ann Oberman and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy.