The Labour Party reportedly invited Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Party congresswoman from the United States who has repeatedly courted controversy over antisemitic tweets and statements for which she has not fully apologised, to speak at their Party Conference.
Ms Omar has tweeted that Israel “hypnotises” the world and suggested that American lawmakers’ support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins”, a reference to the $100 bill, which is adorned with the picture of Benjamin Franklin, and an allusion to supposed Jewish financial clout. She has also spoken of people “push[ing] for allegiance to a foreign country,” a statement redolent of dual loyalty charges made against Jews.
Ms Omar reportedly declined the invitation to attend the Party Conference.
Also invited was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another controversial US congresswoman, who back in February spoke to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the telephone, for which she subsequently apologised after being made aware of his and Labour’s antisemitism. Ms Ocasio-Cortez also declined the invitation, citing commitments in the United States. The Labour Party noted that Congress is currently in session, which may make travel difficult for legislators.
Another controversial speaker, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, who rejects Israel as a Jewish State, was invited to speak, but reportedly has been unable to obtain an entry visa to the UK.
Reacting to these invitations, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “These invitations appear to be yet another example of the Labour Party baiting the Jewish community. Each year, the Party seems determined to use its conference to underscore that Labour is institutionally antisemitic.”
Meanwhile, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Richard Burgon, who has stated that “Zionism is the enemy of peace” and then lied about having done so, is slated to appear on a panel with lawyer Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, who has criticised the International Definition of Antisemitism, described the debate around the International Definition as “toxic”, and has called Israel a “racist regime.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”