Momentum video on left-wing antisemitism criticised for featuring woman who boycotts Israel

Tania Shew told viewers that she has never been to Israel and boycotts Israeli goods


A Momentum video about left-wing antisemitism has been criticised for focussing on the experiences of a woman who said she boycotted Israel.

The video shows Tania Shew, talking about her experiences of discrimination in the Labour Party, including how "one left-wing mentor" told her the problems of the Middle East were the fault of "the Jews" and she is often asked about Israel "within seconds" of revealing she is Jewish.

“Israel is a country half way across the world which I have literally never been to,” she says. “I can’t vote in their elections, I boycott Israeli goods. The only thing that connects me to the Israeli government is that we happen to be members of the same ethnicity.”

Dave Rich, head of policy at the Community Security Trust, welcomed the attempt by Momentum, the left-wing campaign group within Labour, to educate its followers about Jew-hate.

But he added what he called the “don't be antisemitic to me because I'm a good Jew who boycotts Israeli goods” message of the video “misses the point”.

Claudia Mendoza, director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Jewish Leadership Council, also criticised the framing of Ms Shew, who worked on both of Mr Corbyn's leadership campaigns, as a "good Jew" because of her stance on Israel.

Ms Mendoza said the video was “exhausting to watch. Is the ‘good I boycott Israel Jew’ woefully ignorant or just deceitful?”

In the video, Ms Shew also says she thought Labour was well-equipped to fix the antisemitism problem within its movement.

She said: “I think everyone on the left should listen to their Jewish comrades wanting to discuss their encounters with prejudice and work to remove their blind spots, as Jeremy has admirably been doing.

As Jeremy Corbyn has always theorised, such empathy can go a long way in politics.”

Mr Rich said claiming that Mr Corbyn was a perfect example of how to listen to the Jewish community and oppose antisemitism is “what is the word, Ironic.”

Ms Shew also says that addressing “antisemitism in Britain should never curtail freedom of speech for Palestinians" and adds white British people of Christian descent need to be mindful when discussing Israel and Palestine.

Mr Rich responded by saying it was not “helpful to say ‘white British people’ should avoid antisemitic language but Palestinians don't need to".

“Denying the Holocaust or claiming the Rothschilds run the world is antisemitic whoever says it.”

Others on social media accused Ms Shew, who is an actress, of performing a set of lines written for her by Momentum.

She dismissed the claims on Twitter. “I was not acting in the video,” she wrote. “This was my own testament to my personal experiences as a Jew on the left.”

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