Lord Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 and Labour MP for Hull East, has reportedly ranted aggressively at a Jewish journalist when asked about Labour antisemitism, claiming that Labour’s antisemitism crisis under Jeremy Corbyn was all “about Israel” and demanded to know what she “can do about Israel”.
Following an interview to promote Channel 5’s new series, British Made With John Prescott, a well-established reporter who wishes to remain anonymous, reportedly asked for Lord Prescott’s opinion on how best to resolve Labour antisemitism. She reportedly told him that she was a British Jew and that she was very concerned by the issue.
However according to reports in the JC, Lord Prescott responded: “Is there anything you can do about Israel and its behaviour?” He continued, in what the journalist and witnesses described to the JC as an aggressive tone: “All of this is about Israel — dead children — settlers on someone else’s land.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism considers Lord Prescott’s outburst to be antisemitic. Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, which the Labour Party has adopted, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is antisemitic.
Shocked and upset, the journalist reportedly left the room at Channel 5’s head office in Camden, north London, and was consoled by colleagues. The exchange took place in front of other Channel 5 staff and it is not said whether they intervened.
Channel 5 declined to comment to the JC but sources at the channel said Lord Prescott’s comments were “a private exchange” with the journalist, after the interview had been completed and did not represent the views of the channel. When asked for a comment, Lord Prescott said: “F*** off.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism is utterly disgusted by Lord Prescott’s antisemitic outburst, which comes as further proof that the Labour Party is rotting from the head. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become rife in the Party, with the disciplinary process that is supposed to punish antisemitism and keep it out of the Party going into meltdown. Lord Prescott should doubtless have little fear of repercussions from within the Party. That is why it is so crucial that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has begun pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. The pre-enforcement proceedings are a precursor to opening a full statutory investigation.
In recent months, eleven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with numerous councillors and members.
Over 50,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”