Last Thursday, Jennifer James, a Labour Party member, Jeremy Corbyn enthusiast and Labour Party Conference delegate, who was once nominated for selection as a councillor for Allerton Hunts Cross ward in Garston and Halewood, was sent a letter informing her of her suspension from the Labour Party. Her suspension was for allegedly opposing self-defining transgender women from taking up positions on the Party’s women-only shortlists, using crowdfunding to pursue her case. She claims that her suspension from the Labour Party followed her tweeting: “I’m not afraid to say women don’t have dicks”.
Whilst the Labour Party was quick to round on Ms James for her stance on transgender rights, the Party appears to have taken absolutely no action against Ms James over a string of tweets from 2014 which were reported to the Party on 9th December, 2017, long before her stance on gender issues came to light.
In one tweet on 18th July 2014, Ms James claimed: “The holocaust is happening in Gaza now…”. A month later, on 29th August 2014, Ms James tweeted that “…the Zionists use the Holocaust to play victim over and over” before adding two days later: “I’m telling ya, Zionists have hijacked Judaism, the Jewish race and the Holocaust to shield their greed and racism”.
Her comments continued in 2015 and 2016. On 3rd September 2015, she wrote that the Palestinians “will build from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea”, an apparent reference to a future ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel.
Apparently anticipating that she might be called an antisemite, she revealed that she is cynically using her Jewish ancestry as a shield, when on 27th May 2015 she tweeted to notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon: “I’m technically Jewish but it’s way down the list of what defines me. It’s just useful when arguing with zionists [to be honest]”.
When Campaign Against Antisemitism asked Ms James to comment, she simply sent us a two-word message, one of which was an expletive. Jeremy Corbyn’s office has been asked comment.
Every one of the above statements inverting the Holocaust is in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism, which the Labour Party adopted.
Ms James’ crowdfunding page was set up on 12th January 2018. According to a report in The Times, it took two days before she was placed on a watchlist held by a closed Facebook group of activists and MPs. It took only eleven more days before she was suspended, demonstrating clearly that when the Labour Party cares about an issue, it is capable of swift action. Ms James’ tweets above were on public show for three-and-a-half years, and she was a prominent activist. A detailed file on Ms James’ views had been in the Labour Party’s possession since 9th December last year, over a month before her views on transgender issues came to the Party’s attention.
At the Labour Party Conference last autumn, much was made of a rule change that would ensure that antisemites would be ejected from the party in the same way as those found guilty of supporting a different political party have been.
It has since been reported that Jeremy Corbyn believes that the transgender issue is one for debate, saying: “People are free to campaign within the party and publicly…and raise these issues and have that discussion”. It is therefore now clear that a debate that is considered legitimate within Labour can prove sufficient to get an individual swiftly suspended, whereas describing “Zionists” as capable of using the deaths of six million of their murdered family members at the hands of the Nazis to further their “greed” and “racism” – which directly breaches Labour’s established rules and definitions – is not.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of antisemitism extremely seriously and is committed to challenging it in all its forms. All complaints are investigated and acted upon as quickly as possible in line with Labour’s rules and procedures.”
We call on the Labour Party to expel Ms James without delay.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is grateful to the Labour Party activists who provided evidence used in this article.