Tom Watson: Warsaw ghetto vandal is 'highly inappropriate speaker' for Momentum event

Ewa Jasiewicz, who spray-painted anti-Israel messages on ghetto wall, is due to speak at the World Transformed event


Ewa Jasiewicz of Poland poses after the memorial service to the victims of the Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships at the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul on June 3, 2010. The nine victims were all aboard the Turkish ferry, Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the aid flotilla, where most of the violence occurred in Monday's pre-dawn raid by Israeli forces. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

It is "highly inappropriate" for a demonstrator who spray-painted "Free Gaza and Palestine" on a wall of the Warsaw Ghetto to speak as scheduled at a Momentum event, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has said.

Mr Watson told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that Ewa Jasiewicz should not, "on the grounds of taste and decency", speak later this month at the World Transformed event, organised by the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group within Labour.

Ms Jasiewicz and another activist, Yonatan Shapira, spray-painted “Liberate all ghettos” and “Free Gaza and Palestine” on one of the remaining walls of the Warsaw Ghetto in 2010, the Sunday Times reported.

At the time, Yad Vashem said the graffiti was “tainted with antisemitism”, while the Community Security Trust condemned it as an act of “arrogance and callousness”.

Ms Jasiewicz is scheduled to speak about the future of trade unions at Momentum’s World Transformed festival, a fringe event which runs parallel to the Labour Party conference.

Mr Watson said: “I think just on the grounds of taste and decency and particularly the context of the fact that we’re dealing with antisemitism suggests to me she’s a highly inappropriate speaker for Momentum.

“We’re not going to rebuild trust with the Jewish community in Britain very easily.”

Ms Jasiewicz defended her actions this week, arguing that the ghetto wall is a “site of creative expression”, intended to embody “the spirit of anti-fascist resistance, exemplified by the Warsaw ghetto fighters”.

She added: “We believe that Never Again is not a slogan but an action, a vigilance and a solidarity with all people facing ghettoisation and oppression for collective liberation.

“There is a lot to reflect on in relation to this action and it is understandable why some people have been offended and hurt by it.

“It was never our intention to cause harm and we hope to repair the trust, in time, that has been broken with those who have been hurt by this.”

World Transformed was established in 2016, in the wake of Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. It attracts both left-wing politicians and commentators, such as John McDonnell, Ken Loach and Paul Mason.

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