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.
Get the news that really mattersSign me up
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
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.