The sign, which features an antisemitic quote falsely attributed to Albert Einstein, reads: “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists do to Palestinian Arabs much of what Nazis did to Jews.” According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism. Many of these rallies have featured antisemitic slogans, chants and banners. Mr McDonnell said that he was “proud” to attend the rally.
Disturbingly, Mr McDonnell also specifically encouraged his Muslim constituents to join the protests, seemingly stoking religious and communal divisions in the UK at a particularly vulnerable time for the Jewish community. He tweeted: “I urge my Muslim constituents to join me on Saturday in the demonstration in London to support the Palestinian people in their call for peace and justice.”
As antisemitism has become rampant on British streets in recent days, some of Mr McDonnell’s Parliamentary colleagues have backtracked on their unadulterated support for these protests and have condemned antisemitism. Mr McDonnell has not.
Last year, Mc McDonnell was accused of sharing a platform with expelled Labour members at the Labour Representation Committee’s Annual General Meeting, namely Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, but he claimed that it was “ridiculous” to suggest that as it was an open meeting and that he could not control who spoke. He remains the Honorary President of the controversial group.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.