Labour 'Jew process' councillor under investigation by party for third time over EHRC report remarks

Wirral councillor Jo Bird had claimed racism against Jewish communities was deemed more ‘worthy of resources’ than other ethnic minorities


Labour councillor Jo Bird is under investigation by the party for a third time after reacting to the publication of the  Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  report into antisemitism in the party by claiming racism against Jewish communities was deemed more “worthy of resources” than other ethnic minorities.

The JC had highlighted last week how the Wirral councillor had used a meeting of left-wing activists protesting over the decision to suspend former leader Jeremy Corbyn to launch her own attack on what she described as the “privileging” of racism against Jews.

It is understood that Labour chiefs have now launched an investigation into comments made by Ms Bird relating to the report.

Cllr Bird – who has been suspended on two previous occasions for comments relating to antisemitism – told last week’s meeting of the ‘Don't Leave, Organise’ group: “As a Jew, I worry about racism against Jewish people.

“I also worry about privileging the racism faced by Jewish communities in this country as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination such as against black people, Palestinians, Muslims and refugees.

“Abuses of power are measured in detentions, deportations and deaths. Privileging one group over another group is divisive. It’s bad for the many, as well as bad for the Jews.”

Last year, the JC had highlighted how Ms Bird had repeatedly attempted to joke about what she described as “Jew process” as a substitute for  the term “due process”  in speeches to activists.

The Jewish Voice For Labour member also regularly gave other  speeches in which she repeated the claim: “Seriously, one of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above - as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism."

An audio copy of a speech Ms Bird gave was sent to the JC in which she had changed  the words of the famous post-Holocaust poem "First The Came For.." by the German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller to suggest “anti-Zionists” were under attack.

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley tweeted at the time: "Absolutely aghast listening to JVL’s Jo Bird, take a poem about the Holocaust, remove the Jews, to replace them with persecution of anti-racists and anti-Zionists."

Originally suspended by the party in March 2019 , Cllr Bird was allowed back after she apologised for comments and claimed she was “merely making a self-deprecating play on words."

Cllr Bird received a formal warning over her conduct.

She was suspended again in February 2020 over comments relating to antisemitism as she campaigned for a place on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).

At last week’s meeting, Ms Bird also called for Mr Corbyn to be reinstated – and also claimed the EHRC report backed his right to say antisemitism “was also dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

She added: “The [EHRC’s report] also agrees with our human right to say this [in page 27]. The Labour leadership have commented publicly on the EHRC report and an individual case. If they can do it, then so can we!

“Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated, without further ado.”

She added: “I’m speaking in a personal capacity. I am a Jewish woman. My Jewish great grandparents fled fascism in Europe and my grandad’s cousins perished in the Holocaust.

“I have experienced warmth and welcome at almost all levels of the Labour Party. 46,000 members voted for me in the NEC (National Executive Committee, Labour’s ruling body) by-elections earlier this year. Thank you very much!”

Addressing her earlier suspensions she said: “Injustice continues in the same vein with my own suspensions in March 2019 and February this year, Jeremy Corbyn's suspension (at the end of last month) and many, many others.

“I was suspended whilst a leading candidate for NEC by-elections. I was reinstated 8 days later, because thousands of people spoke out, moved motions and voted – and an NEC panel found that my behaviour ‘did not amount to a breach of the Party’s Rules’.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."



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