Far-left NCC candidate Stephen Marks opposed the IHRA definition of antisemitism and backed a campaign to deregister a charity fighting antisemitism.
The Red Roar can also reveal that Marks signed a letter dismissing Labour’s antisemitism crisis as “an attempt to influence local elections” and defended disgraced academic Norman Finkelstein.
Stephen Marks is a member of far-left group Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and is standing for election to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) which deals with antisemitism cases. He now has the backing of Momentum after Jon Lansman capitulated to pressure from other far-left groups.
In August, Marks signed an open letter calling on Labour to “resist calls to adopt all eleven examples accompanying the IHRA definition of antisemitism”. His name also appears on separate open letter condemning demands for Labour’s adoption of the full IHRA definition as “beyond the boundaries of acceptable political discourse”, and he has shared an article suggesting the definition should be rejected completely. Labour would later commit to the IHRA definition in full with all of its examples.
Other campaigns backed by Marks raise similar questions over his suitability to review antisemitism cases for the party.
One such campaign was a letter dismissing cases of Labour antisemitism from earlier this year as “an attempt to influence local elections”, despite Jeremy Corbyn’s own acknowledgement that “there is a real problem” in the party.
Another is a petition to deregister the Campaign Against Antisemitism charity, shared by Marks on his Facebook page. The Campaign Against Antisemitism is maligned by some far-left activists for its work in exposing antisemitism within the Labour Party, and indeed the petition was initiated by Tony Greenstein who was himself expelled from Labour for his abuse of Jewish MP Louise Ellman and his repeated use of the epithet “Zio”.
Marks also shared a petition defending disgraced academic Norman Finkelstein whose book The Holocaust Industry has been described by historian Omer Bartov as a “conspiracy theory”. He appears to have gone further in a comment on the Socialist Unity website, apparently defending the academic’s distinction between the historical events of the Holocaust and the “Zionist narrative”. Other comments on the same website link the poster to the NCC candidate’s Oxford East CLP and history on the far-left.
The details of Marks’ views on antisemitism and the IHRA definition will add to existing concerns about his support for alleged antisemites already suspended or expelled from the party.