Labour’s new general secretary Jennie Formby shared an article defending Labour members suspended for antisemitism and said it was “unclear” why it was antisemitic to accuse a Jewish Labour MP of “colluding” with the media in Facebook posts that she has now deleted.
Following this week’s demonstration against antisemitism in the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn is reported to have told the party’s new general secretary Jennie Formby to make tackling antisemitism her “first priority”.
But Formby’s deleted Facebook posts show that she has previously shared an article that defends Labour members suspended for making antisemitic remarks.
Formby shared the article saying it was “an interesting counter-argument to the accusations of some kind of epidemic of antisemitism in the Labour Party”. The article in question defends a Labour councillor who said “I’ve heard some compelling evidence about ISIS being originated from Zionists” and backed Tony Greenstein who claimed that “Zionists collaborated with the Nazis”.
In another deleted post to Facebook, Formby said that Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth “was accused of colluding with the Telegraph so it is unclear for now why this is antisemitic”. She was referring to the incident in which far-left activist Marc Wadsworth was reported to have accused Smeeth of “colluding” with the right-wing media at the launch of the party’s as-yet unimplemented Chakrabarti Report on antisemitism.
Marc Wadsworth was suspended following the incident, but the disciplinary hearing to review his actions is believed to have been postponed indefinitely.
As general secretary, Formby will now be expected to take the lead on a review of Wadsworth’s case and up to seventy other cases of alleged antisemitism as part of a drive to tackle the problem.