Disgraced Labour activist, Jackie Walker, has made more explosive comments while answering an audience question during a session at Noam Chomsky’s “The responsibility of intellectuals 50 years on” conference held at University College London on 25th February. In particular, she refused to accept the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism transcribed a video of the question and answer which was posted on YouTube and Facebook by various groups, including on one Facebook page, where it has gained 226,000 views.
Walker, who is currently suspended from the Labour Party, had her case referred to the Party’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) earlier this month. She was suspended by Labour in September 2016 following comments she made about Holocaust Memorial Day at the Labour Party Conference. Walker said that Holocaust Memorial Day is not inclusive enough and that Jewish schools do not need special security in the face of threats. She also reportedly claimed that antisemitism was being “exaggerated” and that the “aim of such allegations is to undermine Jeremy [Corbyn].”
Walker, a leading ally of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, was previously suspended from the Labour Party and then readmitted — without explanation — after claiming that “many Jews” were the “chief financiers” of the African slave trade, a proposition described by the Legacies of British Slave Ownership project at University College, London as based on “no evidence whatsoever.” The accusation is clearly antisemitic under the International Definition of Antisemitism by “charg(ing) Jews with conspiring to harm humanity” and by “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing.”
Being so clearly antisemitic under the terms of the definition, it is therefore unsurprising that she would seek to reject it. So in this latest episode to be added to her long list of antisemitic remarks, she responds with a bizarre antisemitic litany to a question from the audience on why she does not accept the International Definition of Antisemitism. Disturbingly, her comments were met with applause from the audience.
Walker said: “Of course there are definitions I can work with. I like to stick to really simple definitions. I think antisemitism is hatred of Jews because they are Jewish. It has nothing to do with the Israeli State. Now I am going to go on from that and I’m going to say something really clear and I’m sure people will be listening to this one. I do not accept your premise that Israel is not a racist state [applause]. As a non-Jew you cannot buy land anywhere you like. You cannot use any roads. If I’m in a hospital and I’m a Jew, I can choose whether I share that area with non-Jews or not. If you look at any definition of racism or apartheid, you might be very well informed on that. I have definitions, I have very good definitions that I can work with. And just because you can give me a big long list of all the people who agree with it. I think this is something that Chomsky is absolutely telling us and saying it clearly. It doesn’t matter how much harassment, how much vilification, how many, how much abuse you send to me, I will never accept that Israel is a necessary part of my identity as a Jew [applause]. And you see the way, I want you to know, I want you to know. Did you hear that? This is a typical way of responding. I, he says, I am not a Jew because because, because of course, because of course, these people believe just like the Nazis that they had the ability to define who is a Jew or not. I want to remind people that our hard fought for, our, our hard fought for vocabulary of liberation, names the person as being the one who claims what their identity is, not a state and not you [applause].”
What Walker says in this rant breaches the International Definition of Antisemitism which states that: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, … by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” is antisemitic. The Labour Party has accepted the International Definition of Antisemitism. Walker is clearly thumbing her nose at the Labour Party and contemptuously and defiantly going against Party policy by so emphatically rejecting the definition. In an effort to shield herself from criticism, Walker makes the dubious claim that she is a Jew, as though antisemitism is only antisemitism depending on who expresses it.
Campaign Against Antisemitism urges the NCC to take Walker’s new outburst into account when they review her case. Nothing short of expulsion from the Labour Party will suffice.
Walker is scheduled to speak on “Palestine, Free Speech & Israel’s Black Ops” at a number of events in Scotland from 27th to 30th March organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. We are monitoring these events closely.