A Labour Party official and union activist who reportedly claimed that the “Israel lobby” had “manufactured” the Party’s antisemitism scandal is behind a motion condemning Labour’s recent ban on far-left factions.
Last month, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee resolved to proscribe the antisemitism-denial group, Labour Against the Witchhunt, the disgraced former Labour MP Chris Williamson’s Resist group, Socialist Appeal and Labour In Exile Network, paving the way for automatic expulsion of their members.
Sheffield Heeley Constituency Labour Party, however, has passed a motion by 30 votes to thirteen, expressing “solidarity” with the factions, demanding that “all unjust proscriptions and expulsions are reversed”, and condemning the prospective creation of a ‘Star Chamber’ to decide on future proscriptions as a “shocking and repressive move.”
The motion was proposed by activist Martin Mayer, who has previously shared a post online claiming that “the Israel lobby manufactured [the] Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis”. He has also made other inflammatory comments and is reportedly active in Labour Against the Witchhunt.
Jawed Siddiqi, a Sheffield Hallam University professor emeritus and Labour Party official, seconded the motion. Mr Siddiqi is the branch’s BAME officer, and has previously spoken to defence of the outspoken filmmaker Ken Loach, the former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and the controversial Bristol University academic, David Miller. He has reportedly also suggested that accusations of antisemitism were “false”.
Elsewhere, the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council has written to the Council’s chief executive to exclude Councillor Anne Pissaridou from their faction. Cllr Pissaridou was suspended from Labour last year, reportedly in connection with antisemitism allegations, but it is understood that her suspension is about to end. Nevertheless, her colleagues do not wish her to be included in their group on the Council.
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
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.