A rally organised by “People’s Assembly” scheduled for this afternoon in Parliament Square in London features speakers who have made antisemitic comments in the past, downplayed the institutional antisemitism of the current Labour Party or claimed that concerns over antisemitism are merely a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. In particular:
- Richard Burgon MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor, asserted that “Zionism is the enemy of peace”, and then lied about having done so;
- Lindsey German, a founder of the Stop the War Coalition, described concerns over antisemitism in the Labour Party as a “witch-hunt”;
- Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, suggested that Israel may have “created” the antisemitism crisis engulfing the Labour Party;
- Aaron Bastani, the co-founder of Novara Media, was condemned for tweeting that the dozens of UK rabbis who publicly criticised the Labour Party in a cross-denominational letter should have their records examined, claiming that former Chief Rabbi Lord Sachs was a “right wing ultra-nationalist”;
- Eddie Dempsey, an activist at the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), referred to accusations against Mr Corbyn as “smears”; and
- Tariq Ali, a veteran activist, described allegations of antisemitism made against Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party as a “vile and grotesque” and “disgusting” campaign, claiming that the Israeli Government had “encouraged” antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends Jack Deakin, a Labour and Co-operative councillor from North Warwickshire, who has declined to join the rally — even though he agrees with its political message — out of concern that “antisemitic tropes will be used or antisemitic people will be attending, when you look at the list of speakers.” He also accused other Labour MPs, including Dan Carden, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, and Laura Pidcock of “ignoring antisemitism”.
Our Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit will be in attendance.