Watch Jess Phillips MP make the most ludicrous accusation of antisemitism to date

Jess Phillips
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On 21 February, Labour MP Jess Phillips made what could be the most ludicrous accusation of antisemitism so far. And there has been some tough competition.


Speaking to Channel 4‘s Cathy Newman, Phillips claimed that Young Labour tweeting the phrase “Joan Ryan Gone – Palestine Lives” is antisemitic:

My red line is the antisemitism… I think that there is an opportunity for [Jeremy Corbyn]… to really comment very very strongly and say things like… what happened with the Labour Party students this week when they put ‘Palestine lives’ at the announcement of Joan Ryan leaving, that that is antisemitic and it has to stop.

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.

Jewish Voice for Labour further highlighted Ryan’s record on Israel:

She was filmed in Al Jazeera’s 2017 documentary The Lobby concocting unjustified allegations of antisemitism against a Labour Party conference delegate who had questioned her attitude to the Israel-Palestine conflict. She has been a vociferous participant in the right-wing campaign to brand Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as antisemites and Holocaust deniers. She has gone so far as to suggest that it is antisemitic to advocate the UN-sanctioned right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Given such a response from Jewish Labour supporters, The Canary asked Phillips to defend or retract her antisemitism allegation, but hadn’t received a reply at the time of publication.

Undermining the fight against antisemitism

This is an ongoing problem. Phillips is far from the only anti-Jeremy Corbyn figure to misuse the term “antisemitism”. Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard backtracked in September 2018 after suggesting Corbyn was being antisemitic for calling out the bankers who caused the financial crash. The Jewish Chronicle has relentlessly published articles accusing Labour of antisemitism. But many of the allegations against Corbyn heavily rely on misrepresentation. For example, the Jewish Chronicle suggested Corbyn hosted an antisemitic event in parliament in 2010, because speakers compared the actions of Israel to the Nazis. But at the meeting, a Jewish Holocaust survivor was addressing a room of predominantly Jewish people.

Allegations like these also risk undermining genuine instances and genuine concerns about antisemitism in Labour and wider society. Such as a 2012 comment from former politician Derek Hatton, who was recently suspended from Labour as a result. Hatton tweeted that Jewish people need to start “speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel”. This tweet assumes collective responsibility for Jewish people everywhere for the actions of Israel’s far-right regime. It’s like arguing that all Muslims must apologise for the crimes of ISIS (Daesh).

There are cases of antisemitism on the left and they need stamping out. But the witch hunt allegations of Phillips and Pollard, meanwhile, only damage anti-racist movements and the quest for justice for the Palestinian people. Indeed, on 20 February, over 200 Jewish Labour supporters said that Corbyn’s Labour is actually a “crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction”.

C’mon Phillips!

In the Channel 4 interview, Phillips also claimed that there’s a “real chance” the Labour party is finished unless it “pulls its socks up”. Yet Labour increased its vote share by more than at any point since 1945 in the 2017 election.

All things considered, Phillips does seem to be very out of touch with the Labour movement, despite being an MP in the party. She needs to stop undermining the global struggle against racism with utterly ludicrous allegations immediately.

Featured image via Channel 4/ YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Watch Jess Phillips MP make the most ludicrous,
      accusation of antisemitism to date
      Some home truths here voter of all parties.
      Please read on! (WE ARE ALL BEING SOLD OUT)
      By the “2 main parties” in Parliament leave voters.

      “In my opinion all them leaving Labour
      Has nothing to do with any religious matter FULL STOP!
      They left Labour party so all of them being
      Tory light member, in the first place could vote YES,
      to Ms May C***Withdrawal bill

      That sell us leave voters out to E.U. plus D.U.P. party whims, over Northern Ireland broader problem,
      (when they are NO B/problem at all)

      This is made up by Ms May and her incompetent current Minister, on front bench plus their partner in this Crime of miss leader, the public the D.U.P. party member keeping Tory Govt in power NOW. Just remember this all leave voter it is us taxpayer in U. K. area that are paying for the D.U.P. party their wages + expenses,
      to vote in H.O.C to prop up Tory Govt ONLY.

      IN addition, all voters of U.K. Wales, Scotland area
      Us the public voters in U.K. did not vote for D.U.P. party,
      to run our, country (the U.K.) for Tory Govt party and,
      make deals, with E.U on the D.U.P. Party whims.
      When they have No Govt in N.I. YET WHY?
      D.U.P. party should be setting up their own N.I. Govt
      Not trying to run the U.K. from N/Ireland area NOW!

    2. So here it is, TIG is the full-blown putsch against the Labour Party members.
      This time the Usual Suspects have put together an efficient conspiracy. The orchestration of defections is well-thought out. A few at a time, headline every time.
      The seat of the coup seems to be Labour Friends of Israel because all the jumpers so far have been members or officers of LFI.
      Tom Bower’s cut & paste hack job has just been published. It’s a master class in How Not To. The whole “book” consists of hearsay, gossip and cliché. There is no Note section at all, so no attempt to provide supporting evidence. His acknowledgements turns usual practice on its head: all contributors are anonymous to protect them from The Walking Dead (or something). Coincidentally, TB’s parents were refugees from Nazi anti-semitism in Czechoslovakia.
      Sir David Garrard, until recently a Labour Party financial backer, announces that he has bankrolled TIG. He describes himself as a “British Jew”.
      Essentially, the intention is to break the Labour Party because of our insistence that Israel is 20% Palestinian and daring to criticise the state’s behavior in relation to that 20%.
      The defectors clearly couldn’t give a fig about increasing racism everywhere in Britain. Antisemitism is just one part of the problem. I can’t follow their logic: how does weakening the only Party truly committed to combating racism help? If they’re really on the side of the angels, surely they would fight for it.
      There’s also been some maundering on about Brexit/2nd Referendum blah. The Usual Suspects have been riding People’s Vote from day one. It’s not a given that Remain would win. In fact, the polls suggest that the margin for Leave might be bigger than the Cheat Referendum.
      I suspect the People’s Vote is a ploy to avoid a General Election which Labour might actually win.
      I’m used to political cynicism, active since ’70s, but the cold, calculated dumping of all those who have suffered under Tory persecution, in order to please Israel (and quietly anyone else who’s anti-social justice) is really into a new and terrible phase.
      Reading TIG’s mission statement, I had an awful flashback to the Milliband Manifesto, full of sounds, signifying nothing. And let’s never forget Milliband’s tombstone – whoever came up with that wheeze is a satirical genius.

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