One shortlisted candidate, Kate Dearden, has reported that she has endured taunts from far-left activists that she is a “Zionist”. Ms Dearden, an official for the trade union Community, has worked in the past with the Union of Jewish Students and the Labour Party’s Jewish affiliate.
The taunts reportedly included “Kate seems to have supported Zionists (UJS/JLM),” while another post said: “Dinner with the Zionists is it? How can you be a socialist party when you have kicked out the Socialists. In fact this little vote has collapsed because you are all a farce.” Yet another post read: “Soo surprised to see Starmer’s choice is a Zionist supporter…”
Another prospective candidate, Jack Hemmingway, is alleged to have downplayed antisemitism within the Labour Party, called for the reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn after the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commision’s (EHRC) report about antisemitism in the Party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, and liked online posts by controversial figures George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob.
On Twitter, Mr Hemmingway defended himself, claiming that his comment arguing that Labour was not institutionally antisemitic came before the outcome of the EHRC report, the findings of which he accepts.
Neither Ms Dearden nor Mr Hemmingway were selected as the Party’s candidate.
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.