During an interview on BBC Radio 4, Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh appeared to equate anti-capitalism with antisemitism. And speaking to The Canary, another Labour source condemned her comments as “absurd”.
“To be anti-capitalist you have to be antisemitic”
McDonagh accused people who take issue with capitalism of being unable to take antisemitism seriously, saying:
I’m not sure that some people in the Labour Party can. Because it’s very much part of their politics, of hard left politics, to be against capitalists and to see Jewish people as the financiers of capital. Ergo you are anti-Jewish people.
Presenter John Humphrys then asked:
In other words, to be anti-capitalist you have to be antisemitic?
McDonagh replied “yes”, before saying:
Not everybody, but there is a certain… there’s a certain strand of it. These people are not Labour, have never been Labour, but we now find them in our party.
In response, a Labour source told The Canary:
It is absurd and damaging to equate challenging the inequalities and injustices of an economic system with antisemitism.
This is an ongoing problem. McDonagh is far from the only anti-Jeremy Corbyn figure to misuse the term “antisemitism”. Labour MP Jess Phillips recently accused Young Labour of antisemitism for tweeting the phrase “Joan Ryan Gone – Palestine Lives”. But correcting the record, grassroots group Jewish Voice for Labour told The Canary:
Joan Ryan is a non-Jewish MP whose activities as chair of Labour Friends of Israel have pitted her repeatedly against supporters of justice for Palestine… Yoking her resignation with the slogan “Palestine Lives” seems entirely justifiable and carries no hint of hostility towards Jews. The fact that the tweet seems to have been removed is a reflection of the gagging of pro-Palestinian voices that Ryan and her allies promote.
It’s not just that allegations like these smear citizens who take issue with the banking industry and inequality. They also risk undermining genuine instances and genuine concerns about antisemitism in Labour and wider society.
Featured image via YouTube – Siobhain McDonagh
We’re a thorn in the side of the establishment, but we can’t do it without your help
Your fight is our fight. But as many of you will know, speaking truth to power has never been easy, especially for a small, independent media outlet such as the Canary. We have weathered many attempts to silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media. Now more than ever, we need your support.
We don’t have fancy offices, and our entire staff works remotely. Almost all of our income is spent on paying the people who make the Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our team and enables us to continue to do what we do: disrupt power, and amplify people.
But we can’t do this without you. So please, if you appreciate our work, can you help us continue the fight?