Jewish Voice for Labour Co-Chair Jenny Manson is said to have compared the widely-accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism to Section 28, the homophobic act passed by the Conservatives that banned the promotion of homosexuality.
Three members present at the Barnet Labour meeting reported the comments on Twitter, with local member Luisa Attfield saying “as a Jewish lesbian I am offended … it is a baseless comparison”. Jewish Voice for Labour’s official Twitter account later claimed that Manson had “compared the chilling effects on free speech and freedom of thought of Section 28”, a description that witness and Barnet councillor Arjun Mittra described as “a lie”.
The accusations against Manson prompted an angry response from Labour Against the Witch-hunt vice-chair and expelled Labour member Tony Greenstein, who called Cllr Mittra an “Uncle Tom” adding “you remind me of the Jewish informers who used to betray people to the Nazis”. He also turned on Luisa Attfield for reporting Manson’s Section 28 comments, saying “being a Jewish lesbian doesn’t stop you from being a gay racist – the Nazis had plenty”.
It is the latest in a series of offensive tweets from Labour Against the Witch-hunt in recent weeks. One described Jewish Guardian journalist Jessica Elgot as a “Zionist presstitute” for reporting on Labour’s antisemitism crisis, while another featured a photo of two young Jewish activists with the slogan on their t-shirts crudely edited to read “Zionist shit”. Another said “we have to settle our scores with the Labour right … the removal of people like Joan Ryan, Ruth Smeeth and Peter Kyle should resemble the massacre of the innocents”.
Greenstein received support from Jewish Voice for Labour over antisemitism allegations that eventually saw him expelled from the party. Both Jewish Voice for Labour and Greenstein’s Labour Against the Witch-hunt have downplayed the party’s antisemitism crisis.