A fringe event at Labour conference has heard calls to expel Jewish activists from the party, while a speaker compared Israel to Nazis and the audience was banned from tweeting in an attempt to silence “hostile” coverage. The room echoed its agreement as a speaker protested that the Jewish Labour Movement was given a campaigning awarded yesterday, instead calling for the group and Labour Friends of Israel to be “kicked out” of the party. A speaker, Miko Peled, said Israel and Israelis should not be treated differently to white South Africans during Apartheid or Nazis. He claimed Israel was committing “genocide” in Gaza. He said those present should stop calling Israel by its name, a view taken up by other speakers who then referred to it only as “the Zionist state”. The notorious Tony Greenstein, who was suspended by Labour for ranting about “Zionist scum” was applauded, and there were cheers for Ken Livingstone.
The fringe event was titled “Free Speech on Israel” – the chair Naomi Wimborne ordered the audience not to tweet, take pictures, film or record the event because there may be “hostile” people present. Guido recorded the entire event. Wimborne interrupted proceedings halfway through to order a young man to stop tweeting. Not sure the “Free Speech” campaigners got the irony…
UPDATE: Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement responds:
“This is a thinly veiled call to purge Jews from the Labour Party. It is a stark example of why Party Conference must vote decidedly tomorrow to pass JLM’s Rule Change on antisemitism. The group whose meeting provided an arena for this hate speech was allowed to advertise it official Party literature. That is far from the zero tolerance on antisemtism that the leadership have promised.”
UPDATE II: Jennifer Gerber, LFI Director said:
“It’s beyond disgraceful that today at Labour Party Conference there have been calls to expel Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement from the party. Supporting the world’s only Jewish state is a mainstream and long-standing Labour position. We hope the Labour Party leadership acts swiftly to condemn those who seek to bully pro-Israel and Jewish members out of the party.”