Steve Hedley, the Senior Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), reportedly launched a tirade against a Jewish anti-racism activist, shouting: “What the Nazis did to you, you’re doing to the Palestinians”, adding: “you’re one of the Chosen People, so you might feel better than me, huh?”
According to the The Daily Mail, the comments were made at a talk in 2011 at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) entitled “Palestine’s Fight For Freedom.”
Mr Hedley, whom The Daily Mail described as a “militant Jeremy Corbyn supporter,” reportedly told Jewish anti-racism activist, Richard Millett: “You’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people. You are a modern-day fascist, you are a modern-day Nazi, by supporting those policies that oppress a…minority in your own state.” He continued: “What the Nazis did to you, you’re doing to the Palestinians.”
Mr Millett responded: “Feel better?”, to which Mr Hedley said: “Better than you, obviously. But then again, you’re one of the chosen people, so you might feel better than me, huh?” Mr Millett said: “So it’s about being Jewish?” and Mr Hedley replied: “It’s about being a Zionist.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” and “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” are antisemitic.
Mr Millett released the audio of the rant and footage from the talk was included in The Daily Mail story.
Shortly after the event in 2011, the RMT London website, RMT London Calling, published a statement from Mr Hedley. Regarding the phrase, “Chosen People,” he wrote: “I accept that my use of the phrase in the context of the highly inflammatory argument with aggressive and disruptive intruders trying to wreck a public meeting and provoke a reaction, was unwise and I regret using the phrase. I apologise to anyone who may have been offended.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism calls for Mr Hadley to be dismissed by the RMT. Nobody with his views should hold positions of authority.