Momentum boss tells BBC Labour antisemitism is not ‘smears’ and must be taken seriously

Summary of Jon Lansman’s Today programme interview on anti-semitism.

Summary of Jon Lansman’s Today programme interview on anti-semitism.

What puzzles people is JC says he takes antisemitism seriously and then goes to dinner with those who say it’s a smear. Does JC want to send a clear signal or not, why not sit down with BOD and JLC?

He went to the seder because they lived in his constituency and it was his night off.

One tweet says Israel is sewage, is this not the language Momentum says has to stop?

It’s not helpful but I’ve not seen context. JC is seeking to meet with mainstream Jewish organisations.

You know him – do you think he always understood the problem?

JC is a lifelong anti-racist; it came as a shock to be described as a racist. Awareness has grown; Momentum’s statement talked about this. The problem is one of unconscious bias.


I’ve noticed people dismissing antisemitism on social media particularly. We train people to get rid of unconscious bias; some in Labour seem less self-aware.

Are you arguing Labour people maybe including JC need education?

We need widespread education and training in the party about how words are used.

Spell out your thoughts about coded words?

Even Zionism means different things to different people – to some it means current Israeli policy.

So you’re saying attack Netanyahu not Zionism?

Yes, to many Zionism just means having a Jewish state.

Does Shawcroft have to go from Momentum NEC?

She didn’t see the photographic evidence. She made a bad judgment and she resigned.

But she’s not gone from Momentum?

She’s not standing in NCG elections.

Are you saying tribal instincts are wrong when it comes to antisemitism?

We shouldn’t approach accusations in the way we approach factional cases. We have to deal with every antisemitism case on its merit.

Momentum members are summoning MPs to meetings to explain why they attended an antisemitism rally. Are you prepared to say ‘do not do this’?

I agree.

Debonnaire has been summoned, should she not have to answer those questions?

It’s fair to ask those questions, it’s not fair to deselect someone for attending an anti racist rally. There are real concerns that have to be taken seriously; even if some people seize on the issue opportunistically.

Some in the Jewish community hear him call Hamas and Hezbollah friends; are you sure JC agrees with you that antisemitism is a scourge?

I absolutely am. He apologised in his letter to the Jewish community on Monday for the pain caused.

He has changed?

We’ve all realised the extent of the problem and are tired of people arguing it’s all smears.

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