Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Event where Jewish speakers were due to debate Labour antisemitism 'smears' rescheduled from Kol Nidrei night

Event description claims 'criticism of Israel is being conflated with antisemitism in ways that threaten free speech and the right to protest while silencing Palestinian voices'

    The event and its speakers
    The event and its speakers (Photo: Facebook)

    An event where Jewish speakers were due to question Labour antisemitism and debate "smears" against Jeremy Corbyn has been rescheduled, after it was pointed out to the organisers that it was due to take place on Kol Nidrei night.

    The event in Bristol was scheduled for the evening of September 18, the night of Yom Kippur. Speakers promoted included Rob Ferguson, a member of Free Speech on Israel and the Socialist Workers Party, described in the event’s promotion as a “Jewish anti-racist”, and Jay Blackwood of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL).

    JVL is a small pro-Corbyn group, set up last year, to fight allegations of antisemitism within Labour. It has attracted the ire of more mainstream, established Jewish groups, which have been critical of Mr Corbyn's handling of the party's Jew-hate crisis.

    Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, and Kol Nidrei night is one when even many non-observant Jews attend synagogue. The news JVL was due to attend the event prompted Jewish former Labour councillor Adam Langleben to tweet: "You couldn't make it up."

    When contacted by the JC, a JVL spokesperson said the date was arranged in error and was changed.

    They said: “The organisers made an error and after JVL pointed this out to them they changed the date so any Jew who wants to can attend and no one is unnecessarily excluded.

    "The organisers have told JVL they apologise for any distress caused.”

    The event will now be held the day before, on September 17 instead.

    At a previous event held by the same groups under the same banner in London two weeks ago, a number of Jews were excluded from the event, with the organisers claiming they would be disruptive.

    On social media, both this and the September 17 event were promoted with the claim: "Criticism of Israel is being conflated with antisemitism in ways that threaten free speech and the right to protest while silencing Palestinian voices.

    "We must vigorously oppose all forms of antisemitism, but we can’t let smears be used to silence criticism of the Israeli state.”

    It also said: “Jeremy Corbyn - a lifelong anti-racist in all respects and prominent figure in the Palestine solidarity movement - is being labelled an antisemite and a racist by those who oppose his politics and leadership of the Labour Party.”

    “This meeting will discuss the importance of challenging any attempt at a witch hunt, strengthening the struggle for Palestinian freedom while maintaining zero tolerance for antisemitism and all forms of racism.”

    Despite the organiser’s claims not to tolerate any form of antisemitism, videos taken of those queueing to attend the event showed a number of people making antisemitic comments.

    “Think of the Dollar – that’s all you care about,” one woman told a Jewish protestor.

    “You like silver, you like gold, that’s all you care about.” Another attendee said that “the Jewish people do not exist.”

    After the event an attendee was filmed saying: “If you walk around expecting to be treated like Jewish ‘scum’, that’s what’s going to happen to you.”

World

Antisemitic graffiti shocks France as politicians call to fight against Jew-hate

Daniel Sugarman

Friday, September 21, 2018

Antisemitic graffiti shocks France as politicians call to fight against Jew-hate
News Features

How Israeli science is leading the world

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, September 20, 2018

How Israeli science is leading the world
UK News

Local Labour party condemns 'reprehensible' harassment of Jewish member

Daniel Sugarman

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Local Labour party condemns 'reprehensible' harassment of Jewish member
UK News

Emily Thornberry claims Corbyn's 'distress' meant he struggled to deal with crisis

Daniel Sugarman

Friday, September 21, 2018

Emily Thornberry claims Corbyn's 'distress' meant he struggled to deal with crisis
UK News

'Huge improvement' praised as Inner North London coroner publishes new protocol

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, September 20, 2018

'Huge improvement' praised as Inner North London coroner publishes new protocol
UK News

Gove criticised for 'shameful' unwillingness to condemn 'antisemitic' Hungarian PM

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, September 17, 2018

Gove criticised for 'shameful' unwillingness to condemn 'antisemitic' Hungarian PM
UK News

Lyon announces lifetime ban for Nazi salute fan

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lyon announces lifetime ban for Nazi salute fan
UK News

Play about antisemitism in the UK attacked by antisemites

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Play about antisemitism in the UK attacked by antisemites
Comment

Leaving the place you call home

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, September 17, 2018

Leaving the place you call home