Labour member brands JLM's Mike Katz a 'fifth columnist' at party meeting for speaking up about antisemitism

Exclusive: Jewish member present describes feeling 'attacked and targeted' at Hampstead and Kilburn CLP gathering


Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) Vice-Chair Mike Katz was branded a “fifth columnist” in a fractious local Labour meeting for speaking up about antisemitism in the party, the JC has learned.

Joe Black, a member of the Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party's (CLP) general committee, attacked Mr Katz, who is running to be JLM chair, for criticising the CLP's motion supporting MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended for his inflammatory interventions on the antisemitism row.

CLP chair Katharine Bligh did not demand Mr Black retract the remark, despite outrage from Jewish members present who urged her to do so, two sources who were at Thursday's meeting said.

She also did not rule against it on a point of order.

Later in the meeting, she proposed a motion that, in part, called for the reinstatement of all members accused of antisemitism.

An amendment was proposed to remove this part of the motion and narrowly passed, despite “many, many members” speaking in its defence, a source said.

One Jewish member told the JC Thursday’s meeting was “particularly fraught”, saying the party’s “obsession with Jews and Israel… makes it very uncomfortable to remain a member and attend meetings”.

They added: “It has got to the stage where in seven out of nine monthly meetings, there are motions about Jews and Israel. The antisemitism isn’t always explicit, but it’s always implied.

“The motion did not call for the reinstatement of Labour Party members who have been accused of anything else. Not Islamophobia, not sexual assault – just antisemitism.

“In that situation, as a Jewish person in the room, it does feel like you’re being attacked and targeted.”

The member reported that some pushed to table a motion rebuking Mr Katz, a former Labour Parliamentary candidate, but the meeting “moved on from that after it descended into chaos”.

Another person present at the meeting said they were informing the JC of what happened because the party "only deals with this stuff when it is in the press".

They asked for anonymity because they otherwise "fear expulsion from the party".

The JC understands Mr Katz was not present.

The CLP has been approached for comment but had not responded as this article went live.

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