Steve Walker, the man behind the Alt-left blog, Skwawkbox, has been reported to the Labour Party for breaching its code of conduct on antisemitism.
The complaint follows a tweet from the Skwawkbox twitter account on Saturday evening, which shared an article titled, ‘The Jewish ‘War Against Corbyn’ risks bringing real antisemitism to Britain.’ The tweet added the endorsing comment, “pertinent and frightening.”
Adam Langleben, the Jewish former-Labour councillor who lost his Barnet seat in May’s local elections, submitted the complaint to the Labour Party earlier today. He pointed out that “only the wilfully ignorant” could claim that “real antisemitism” doesn’t already exist in Britain, as the article’s title implies, and gives the example of the arson attack on a synagogue in Exeter last week, which was condemned by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The article was written by Robert Cohen, who previously accused the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council of “advocating for a foreign power not fighting racism” when they organised the Enough is Enough protest outside Parliament in March.
Langleben also suggests that the article breaches three of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) examples of antisemitism. The article claims that “the Jewish community’s leadership [and] its media” aren’t concerned about NHS funding, care for the elderly, or affordable housing, and instead “only have one issue on their mind – Israel, and how best to protect it from criticism.” The trope that Jews have greater loyalty to Israel than their home nation is the sixth example of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. It is described as “wrong” rather than explicitly antisemitic in Labour’s new code of conduct, so this will be an interesting test case for what that means in practice.
The article also contains the somewhat threatening passage:
“And what if Corbyn losses by a narrow margin? How will the millions who voted for him see the Jewish community and its three-year campaign to brand him toxic? The ‘Jewish War Against Corbyn’ is not good Jewish communal politics. It’s playing with fire.”
Langleben points out that this is guilty of violating two IHRA examples of antisemitism which Labour adopted wholesale:
Accusing the entire Jewish community of being behind a campaign against Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, and that such a campaign could be viewed as having cost Labour the next election, falls under the IHRA example of antisemitism “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective” (paragraph 9, subsection b of Labour’s NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism), and “accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews,” (paragraph 9, subsection c of Labour’s NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism).
Skwawkbox later deleted the original tweet, and wrote “Retweeted a tweet earlier by a Jewish author, without endorsement and with the original title unchanged, commenting that it was frightening in the current circumstances.” Both the claim that he ‘retweeted’ the tweet, rather than tweeting it himself, and that his tweet was “without endorsement,” when he in fact called it “pertinent and frightening,” appears to be untrue.
The full letter of complaint is below: