Candidates to replace Corbyn denounce him as anti-Semitic

Labour’s leadership candidates were grilled by the Israel lobby.

Vickie Flores London News Pictures

Candidates to replace Jeremy Corbyn as UK Labour leader this week denounced his words as “anti-Semitic.”

Israel lobby groups the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel held a joint event on Thursday night to grill the leadership contenders.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the supposedly left-wing candidate to replace Corbyn, agreed it was “anti-Semitic” to “describe Israel, its policies, or the circumstances around its foundation as racist.”

Lisa Nandy, another candidate, agreed with even more enthusiasm.

In 1948, Israel expelled 800,000 Palestinians from Palestine.

In 2018, Corbyn stated that it should not be “regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact” on Palestinians.

He had been attempting unsuccessfully to make it Labour Party policy to protect people who make valid criticisms of Israel, or state historical facts, from allegations of anti-Semitism.

But on Thursday, to loud groans from the audience, Long-Bailey prevaricated that she couldn’t “remember the exact words” Corbyn had used after the moderator – TV journalist Robert Peston – revealed the words she had just agreed were anti-Semitic were in fact Corbyn’s.

Peston ranted that Corbyn’s words had been “a disgrace.”

Festival of reaction

Long-Bailey has touted herself as the left-wing successor to Corbyn.

But there are no signs of anything like the same grassroots enthusiasm for her as there was for Corbyn.

The event on Thursday night was a festival of reaction and ignorance.

All four candidates tried to outdo each other in touting their pro-Israel credentials, and competing about who would expel the most Labour Party members in an ongoing “anti-Semitism” witch hunt.

Emily Thornberry posted – but later deleted – a shamelessly anti-Palestinian tweet that same night. The posting clearly implied it was “anti-Semitic” for Labour conference delegates to fly Palestinian flags.

Neither Thornberry nor the Labour Party replied to requests for comment.

Asked by one questioner what their attitude was towards Zionism, all four leadership candidates expressed support for Israel’s official ideology.

“I believe in the state of Israel and therefore I’m a Zionist,” said Thornberry.

Nandy was even more enthusiastic, gushing about what “makes me a Zionist.”

Long-Bailey said she supported separate Palestinian and Israeli states, “So I suppose that makes me a Zionist, because I agree with Israel’s right to exist.”

Keir Starmer, the frontrunner, said that he has family in Israel and although “I wouldn’t describe myself in that way,” he understood “and I sympathize with and I support Zionism.”


Zionism is the movement that founded the state of Israel in 1948, and remains enshrined in Israeli law and state ideology today.

Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist militias and the new Israeli army drove the majority of Palestine’s indigenous population out of the country in order to create a majority Jewish state.

The refugees have never been allowed to return solely because they are not Jewish.

The Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel audience were openly hostile to Corbyn on Thursday night.

During the introduction, Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz asked why Labour had supposedly become a home for “anti-Semites” and “Holocuast deniers.”

Someone in the audience shouted out “Corbyn!” to warm laughter from the audience.

The morning after the event, the Jewish Labour Movement announced its members had endorsed Lisa Nandy for Labour leader.

This endorsement is unlikely to influence the wider membership, however.

A YouGov poll of party members last month showed that Labour Friends of Israel – which co-hosted the event Thursday night – is now the single most unpopular out of nine Labour-associated groups.

Only 17 percent of members polled said they viewed the Israel lobby group favorably, with 38 percent regarding it unfavorably.

By contrast, Labour Friends of Palestine is viewed favorably by 47 percent of party members and unfavorably by just 12 percent.

That gives Labour Friends of Palestine a net favorability rating of 35, while Labour Friends of Israel’s stands at -21.




You really couldn't make it up. The useless and virtually inactive Labour Friends of Palestine is chaired by a Zionist, Lisa Nandy!

I'm going to propose that Count Dracula become the next Chairman of Britain's Blood Transfusion Service!


The ignorance of these three is surpassed only by their cowardice and dishonesty. They propose that Zionism is belief in an Israeli State. That makes Chomsky, a consistently fierce critic of Israel for decades a Zionist. His work embraces the idea that if Israel continues to behave dishonestly and viciously, it will destroy itself. Part of his argument is an attempt to rescue Israel from its own folly, delusions and racism. He has endorsed the idea of an Israeli State side by side with an autonomous Palestinian State, granted all the rights that independent States enjoy. Does that make him a Zionist? You have to be as dumb as a brick or thoroughly dishonest to make such a claim. Zionism is not the belief in an Israeli State but that the whole of Palestine shall be Jewish. What then happens to the Palestinians? There are only two possibilities: genocide or ethnic cleansing. Indeed, Trump's plan (Bantustans for the Palestinians so they can be pool of cheap labour for Israeli capitalists) is a simple logical extension of the 1948 ethnic cleansing. Golda Meir went much further:"The borders of Israel are where Jews live, not a line on a map." Thus, the UK is Israel, France is Israel, the USA is Israel, Russia is Israel. Such is the demented nature of Zionist thinking. The three candidates for leader have embraced a racist ideology. Zionism asserts the superiority of Zionists. It is an anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian creed and the three stooges have committed the Labour Party to it. Labour can't fight for justice for anyone if it does not fight for justice for the Palestinians. The trio of greasy-pole climbers have put their careerist interest before principle. Sheer intellectual and moral cowardice combined with gutter opportunism. They are running scared of the B o D, LFI, the CST and they lack either the character or intellect to tell the truth. Zionism is a political doctrine of hatred, oppression and tyranny. The Labour Party is losing its soul.


This whole fiasco is a tissue of lies. It was created when it became possible that a Palestinian supporter (Corbyn) looked likely to become Labour Leader. The driving force behind this is the Israeli Zionists who recruited Labour members to damage Corbyn and Labour. I am approaching 50 years as an active member of the party and I have never come across any anti Semitism or met an anti Semitic party member. There is no doubt whatsoever that this Zionist campaign is designed to prevent the majority of party members from supporting the Palestinian people.


I couldn't agree more Terry. I have NEVER come across antisemitic behaviour with any of my Lavour friends and peers. I have still yet to see any evidence in the media too. I would look to the tories and Ukipp if I wanted to find racist attitudes. Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn in particularhave always been the antiracist party. It's part of our DNA.
Criticism of the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians is evidence- based, justifiable, and non anti semitic!!!


Emily Thornbury, Kier Starmer and Lisa Nandy have aligned themselves with Zionost racism. They have basically endorsed Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people and affirmed their support for apartheid. These are not Labout values. No self respecting Labour party member could vote for these three.


It's very disappointing about Long Bailey. Though from what I can see, she was the least enthusiastic and Nandy and Thornberry were the most enthusiastic to throw themselves at the feet of Zionism and show blind support for Israeli atrocities. Starmer is simply more polished and more slippery on all issues. He has family in Israel, he says, showing a deep support for Israel without saying the Z word. And they all threw Corbyn under the bus. Disgraceful behaviour by all of them.


This just proves Uk acceptance of the Trump Doctrine (Tories already have swallowed it whole). Fortress Israel is a paradise for those who live in it; hell exists just outside its borders and is no concern of the labour party since these outsiders are happy to live so and will not come under full Israeli protection wrongly supposing this to be vassalage. Until they see the light they will have to live in darkness and not entertain any ideas of UK or Labour help. Justice has nothing to do with it.


Global corporate fascism continues its relentless march through decency and democracy with these clowns cheering it on by agreeing with the smears and denouncing a fundamentally decent man who railed against it. I joined the Labour Party because of Corbyn, partly because of his stance on Palestine and the ongoing atrocities that these political elite wannabes cravenly look away from to gain favour. Shame on them all.


Letting Zionists set the agenda on what constitutes "anti-Semitism" (e.g., criticizing Israel), is like letting Atheists design a worship service. The Zionists don't want to be "Jews." They want to be secular Europeans and couldn't care a damn about Judaism. The UK taught the US how to behave badly and now both are doubling-down on every rotten thing they have ever done to serve the whiners that are the Israeli government.

I am a Jew and I criticize Israel DAILY! If that makes me an anti-Semite, you have to be using Israel's custom, self-serving definition of the term. Israel doesn't represent me. I don't murder and steal to get what I want like they do, so I'm not their "kind" of Jew. Nothing could make me happier!


If only there were more of 'your kind of Jew' Mr. Farber - you are a brave, 'kind of hero' - thank you for taking a stance on equality for all in this troubled piece of 'God's' land ❤


That is not surprising. What would be surprising is that if any of those "ethically challenged" hacks, toadies and drones did not denounce him.

Why anyone still has any [false] illusions about that FAKER political syndicate (let alone remaining in it) is sad.


I suppose we can expect Labor's endorsement of "The Deal of the Century!!!" in the days to come. And if Palestinians reject yet another fine offer and poor Israel is forced, so very reluctantly, to remove them to Egypt and Jordan, we can expect to see Solomon's Seal, Old Glory and the Union Jack fluttering - like moths in our political twilight - all in a line, in every corner of the western world.


The Labour party has degenerated into the British Likud party it has lost all respect and credibility. That's why I've joined the Workers Party of Britain: It's an anti-imperialist and socialist party who supports the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination.


I'm close to tears reading all this. The despair is overwhelming. What can we do? WHAT CAN WE DO?


Never despair. Jo Bird was suspended in the middle of an election to Labour's National Executive Committee. The reaction was such that it was lifted within a week.


So, Starmer states “I am not a Zionist”
Long-Bailey says “I am a Zionist”...

... and somehow Starmer is still Blair in Sheep’s clothing. Wake up people, you’ve created Long-Bailey as Corbyn successor in you heads without a shred of evidence other than top down dictates.


Apartheid in South Africa was a policy that confined African people to tribal homelands. They were denied citizenship. On this basis Isreal is an apartheid state and you should be allowed to say so without being denounced as anti-Semitic. That is racism against Jews, which is totally unacceptable. Zionists are Jewish Nationalism. Socialists are, at basis, internationalists, so opposing all Nationalism. Socialists are all opponents of oppression and will oppose all states that oppress minorities, including Isreal No state can be given an exemption to oppress people, because that would betray Labour party principles.


If I have to resign from the Labour Party for my support of
Palestine against an oppressive Israel, so be it.


The Labour Party was founded on left wing ideals and policies. It supported justice for all, not just the rich . It opposed tyranny. Before Jeremy Corbyn became leader, The Labour Party had become a grotesque distortion of itself. It was a not so watered-down Tory party, thanks to Blair and his cronies. It supported policies that would make Attlee and Bevan turn in their graves. And it went along with anything the U.S. government decided. Resulting in the deaths of thousands. Labour stood for fairness, equality, and the eradication of poverty. The political chatacter assassination of Jeremy Corbyn, brought about by supporters of Netanyahu and his murderous regime, who are not representative of the Jewish people, and the ultra right wing, will go down in history. If supporting Palestine, and denouncing a bunch of fascists, whose ultimate goal is the murder of every Palestinian, is deemed to be antisemitic, then maybe it is time for true socialists to quit and create a real Labour Party, built on true Socialism, because, once one of these candidates take charge, the party will become a mouthpiece for Netanyahu.


I hate to disappoint you Michael but the Labour Party was not founded on left-wing ideas. It supported Zionism even b4 the Balfour Declaration. At a time when Zionism among British Jews was a minority taste it accepted the affiliation of Poale Zion. It has always supported imperialism. Blair was not the first and will not be the last. Corbyn's election was a fluke in many ways. The LP has been the site of much political struggle, left v right, but we must not pretend that it has had a virtuous past. It hasn't


"There is no conflict between Jewish and Palestinian nationalism because the Jewish Nation is not in Palestine and the Palestinians are not a nation." Ben Gurion. Any half way intelligent and educated GCSE pupil could expose the logical flaws in that and reveal its tendentious, twisted refusal of reality in defence of the indefensible. Not apparently the three wise monkeys who want to lead Labour and become PM. This is a tragic moment for the Party, the country and the world. Frankly, it would be better to let the Tories stay in power and save Labour from becoming a Party of racism, cowardice, oppression, tyranny and apartheid. If the Tories are those things, we can attack them. If that's what Labour becomes we collapse into a culture where there is no central, organised alternative to racism, dishonesty, narrow self-interest and delusion. We on the periphery would continue to fight, but if Labour becomes a Zionist Party, as it is about to, what will stand in the way of legislation making criticism of Israel a crime? Indeed, the performance of all three alongside the despicable Peston indicates they would enthusiastically support such a measure. We would than have entered a totalitarian State where thought-control would be the order of the day. The 10 vile B o D pledges are exactly that. Pledge 4 breaches Party rules, yet all three have accepted it. That is, they have made the B o D the rule-making body of the Labour Party. Zionism has the full support of Trump. It is a thorough-going capitalist creed. All three are happy with this. All that remains is for all three to declare their support for Trump in November. Embracing Zionism is worse than supporting Trump because at least the coloured people of America have a vote. The Palestinians don't. The three have just declared their support for a system based on racial discrimination which denies rights to Arabs because they are Arabs. If they'll support that, what won't they support? They have no principles.


Their blatant support for the brutal Israeli regime's slaughter, genocide, war crimes and apartheid, etc., is shameful and disgusting but it's the accepted norm in UK politics and media. To make the Labour Party electable, it must submit to manipulation by the pro-Israel lobby and its relentless campaign to silence and ban legitimate condemnation of the brutal Israeli apartheid regime which is regularly condemned at the UN for gross human rights abuses and breaks international laws with impunity. So-called 'democracy' UK style.


In an echo of the Nakba, the majority of its members will be driven out of the Labour Party, to dwell in small camps on the margins of power or disappear entirely. The Zionists are demonstrating to any holdouts for humanity and justice exactly what's in store- unquestioning fealty to Israel and by extension, the imperial system that sustains that enterprise. Labour will be policed by groups affiliated both with the Conservative Party and the state of Israel. A small degree of latitude will be permitted in discussions of economic policy and good intentions. But when every leadership candidate grovels before the Lobby in this way, embracing apartheid and renouncing the cause of Palestine- indeed, when an ardent Zionist heads the "Labour Friends of Palestine" section- it's time to recognise a wide-ranging truth. The takeover is complete.

This is about much more than Zionism and spurious charges of antisemitism. That was just a tool, an instrument by which much havoc could be wreaked. The goal is to afford supreme power to capital at a time of encroaching disaster.


Apart from the intervention of the Zionists, the funny thing is that Arabs are Semites, too. Antisemitism is a crime, anti-Zionism is a duty


This old bogey still comes up because some people are incapable of learning anything.

Anti-semitism means anti-Jewish racism. It cannot be understood as anything else. It is NOT a combination of the 2 parts. Why? Because there is no such thing as 'semitism' or for that matter 'semites'. Semitic refers to a language group which includes Hebrew and Arabic NOT the people.

Anti-semitism was coined or popularised by Wilhelm Marr an anti-Semite (ie anti-Jewish racist) in 1879. He later recanted but he believed that the problem with Jews was that they were orientals and therefore not part of the Aryan races. Those who play with this word are playing into the hands of racists who argue that Jews didn't really originate from Palestine. Actually it is irrelevant where Jews came from in terms of their rights of colonisation.

Just accept that words change their meaning with the efluxion of time. Anti-semitism is one of those words and only a philistine insists on analysing the word or breaking it up into its component parts


If proof were needed that the revolutionary communist party are right in their diagnosis of British Labourism (it will always sell out the interests of the people to the interests of Capital) it is here in its nauseating stark reality, the spectacle of these 4 third rate politicians kissing the asses of the zionists

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).