A controversial councillor is reportedly being backed to join Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee by the far-left group, the Labour Representation Committee.
Jo Bird, Labour and Co-operative Councillor for the Bromborough Ward on Wirral Council has previously been suspended from the Labour Party and given a formal warning, apparently after joking about renaming ‘due process’ in the Labour Party as “Jew process”.
The comments were reportedly made two years ago at a “Justice4Marc” meeting in support of expelled Labour activist and friend of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the Party after a confrontation with a Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth. According to the recording, Cllr Bird joked that the term ‘due process’ should be dubbed “Jew process”, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd of Labour activists.
Cllr Bird discussed allegations of racism and said that: “Seriously, one of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above — as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism.”
Cllr Bird also came under fire for another part of the recording, in which she adapted the famous “First they came…” poem about the failure of European society to stand up for Jews during the Holocaust by German theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller. Her distorted version said: “They came for the anti-Zionists, and I stood up because I was not a target, I stood up in solidarity. And then they came for the Socialists but they couldn’t get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party.”
Rachel Riley, the television star and antisemitism campaigner, tweeted at the time: “Absolutely aghast listening to JVL’s Jo Bird, take a poem about the Holocaust, remove the Jews, to replace them with persecution of anti-racists and anti-Zionists.”
Cllr Bird also said that “privileging” antisemitism was “Bad for the many, as well as bad for the Jews,” a play on the Party’s “For the many, not the few” slogan.
The disgraced former MP, Chris Williamson, is also heard in the recording.
Cllr Bird struck a similar tone on the issue in a Jewish Voice for Labour blog. She wrote that Mr Wadsworth’s expulsion was “unfair” and said ‘due process’ should be known as “Jew process.” The title of the blog was even “Jew Process.”
The Labour Representation Committee is a pro-Corbyn pressure group with a long history of belittling claims of antisemitism and publishing extremely disturbing articles. The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, is its President.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
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.