Following correspondence with Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Unite union has cancelled the screening of a propaganda film about the antisemitic former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn that was due to be shown alongside a book signing and talk from Asa Winstanley.
Mr Winstanley, a controversial activist and the author of the book Weaponising Anti-Semitism, is a former Labour member who quit the Party after being suspended pending an investigation. He has called accusations of antisemitism under the Party a “smear” and has referenced “Labour’s manufactured antisemitism crisis”. He has also tweeted repeatedly in promotion of the conspiracy theory that Israel is to blame for the racist killing of George Floyd.
The event description stated that there would be a launch of the book which apparently “shows how Labour’s antisemitism crisis was manufactured by those who feared Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the Palestinian cause and a broad progressive agenda.” A book signing and talk from Mr Winstanley was then supposed to take place.
This was due to be followed by a screening of the film Oh, Jeremy Corbyn! The Big Lie. However, following contact from Campaign Against Antisemitism in which we pointed out that the scheduling of the event appeared to be contradictory to the reports that the film has been banned in all of Unite’s buildings, it was cancelled.
The news comes shortly after, following action by Campaign Against Antisemitism, Glastonbury Festival, YMCA, Basildon Council, the national pub retailer Greene King, Tolpuddle Village Hall, Yeovil Labour Club, a Nottinghamshire church and independent venues around the country, have cancelled screenings of the film.
The film claims that it “investigates the ‘secret war’ waged against Corbyn” and questions whether there was an “orchestrated campaign” against the former Party leader.
The film’s contributors include a who’s who of controversial figures such as Jackie Walker, who has previously stated that Jews were “chief financiers” of the African slave trade; the filmmaker Ken Loach, who caused outrage when, during an interview with the BBC, he refused to denounce Holocaust denial. Both were expelled from the Labour Party; Graham Bash, the Political Officer of Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation; and Moshe Machover, a professor and Holocaust revisionist. All have been expelled from the Labour Party, although Mr Machover was readmitted.
Also involved is Andrew Murray, a close adviser to Mr Corbyn who, in 2005, authored an article in which he claimed that the roots of the 9/11 terror attacks lay in “Zionist colonialism” of the Balfour Declaration. However, Mr Murray has since sought to distance himself from the film.
The film is narrated by comedian Alexei Sayle who claimed in 2014 that BBC presenter Emma Barnett, who is Jewish, supported the murder of children following an article and radio interview in which she had decried antisemitism amongst anti-Israel activists.
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends Unite for its swift and decisive action to cancel the screening as soon as we brought it to its attention.
Additionally, we received confirmation from the Widcombe Social Club that a planned screening of the film, at which Mr Loach was also due to speak, was cancelled, as has one at Havant and Emsworth United Reformed Church, the independent book retailer, October Books, and Leicester Students’ Union.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.