Labour Jews to Chuka Umunna – Stop using antisemitism smears against Corbyn

Dear Chuka Umunna,

We write as Jews who are members of the Labour Party. Some of us are also members of Momentum. We were shocked to witness the cynical manner in which you weaponised false allegations of antisemitism to launch an attack on the leader of the Labour party and on Momentum at the session of the Home Affairs Committee on Monday July 4th. [The questioning of Corbyn by Umunna starts at 17:02:50]

Some of the comments made at the press conference launching the Chakrabarti inquiry on June 30 by Mr Wadsworth (not a representative of Momentum as you claimed) were rude and unwarranted, however there is no evidence they were motivated by antisemitism. Wadsworth was clearly angry that the Daily Telegraph journalist had shared one of his leaflets with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth. He makes no reference to Ms Smeeth’s religion and asserts he had no knowledge she was Jewish and there is no evidence that this is not true. We have searched assiduously, including scrutinising the video footage of the incident, but have found no evidence of antisemitism, as opposed to incivility, in his words or actions.

The questions about Mr Wadsworth had been asked and answered several times by the time you asked your questions. Quite evidently your questions were not designed to elicit information but to pursue an internal Labour Party vendetta in a public forum. This relentless concentration on a confection designed to damage the Labour Party inhibits proper discussion on an important report into how the Labour Party can be more effective in combatting all forms of racism including antisemitism.

In your questioning you repeatedly employed guilt by association. For instance, you made reference to David Watson’s case. This is still under investigation and, as your legal background should have informed you, the allegations against him currently remain untested and unproven. These are allegations that, had you performed due diligence before asking your questions, you would have known are based on flimsy, if not fabricated, evidence.

We have been quite unable to detect any hint of animosity towards Jews in any of Watson’s social media posts. His critique of Zionism is one that many Jews share, in particular that the political Zionism dominant in Israel today is a racist ideology, both discriminating against Palestinians and stereotyping Jews as incapable of living alongside non-Jews in diverse societies. To then suggest that anyone who shares a platform with Watson is implicitly condoning antisemitism, and further that Jeremy Corbyn is answerable for all events organised by Momentum, is absurd.

You cite the example of the Oxford University Labour Club, and claim that “time and time again in these incidents of activity” in which offence is caused “to and against Jewish people Momentum seems to pop up quite frequently”. Yet Baroness Royall found no evidence of institutional antisemitism in OULC, and reported on at least one case of serious false allegations of antisemitism which had been reported to the police.

We ask you to cease your relentless undermining of the Labour Party. It would be more appropriate for you to concentrate your considerable energy on working to unite the Party so that we can displace this destructive Tory Government as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Edinburgh East & Musselburgh
Hackney North
Hornsey & Wood Green
Wanstead and Leyton
Finchley & Golder’s Green
Manchester Withington
North Islington
Islington North
Alex J
Ealing Central & Acton
Brighton Kemptown
Hastings & Rye
Holborn & St Pancras
Hampstead & Kilburn
Enfield North
Chipping Barnet
Harrow East
Harrow East
Holborn & St Pancras.
South West Devon
Hastings & Rye
Hastings & Rye
Hornsey & Wood Green
East Ham
Ilford South
Dr Brian
Milton Keynes
Hackney South & Shoreditch
Brent Central
Brent Central
Dulwich & West Norwood
West Ham
Dulwich & West Norwood
Hackney South & Shoreditch
South Thanet
Hampstead & Kilburn
Chingford & Woodford Green

You can watch the video of the Home Affairs Committee session here. Chuka Umunna begins questioning Jeremy Corbyn at approx. 17:04:00

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43 thoughts on “Labour Jews to Chuka Umunna – Stop using antisemitism smears against Corbyn”

  1. Very well said. Chuka was out of line, as pointed out by the chairman. He comes across with an axe to grind – nothing to do with the point of the discussion and reveals himself to be immature and quite odious to watch.

    1. He behaved despicably against Ken Livingstone on June 14th. He needs to be kicked out of this committee and suspended from the Labour Party for his aggressive behaviour towards the left.

      1. Here here. This whole thing has been used, yet again just before elections, simply to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Anyone who cannot see this is a fool.

      2. certainly – makes himself look like a ‘contender’ for future leadership

    2. His problem now is that he knows that any chance he might have had of becoming party leader have disappeared and rightly so, his behaviour and that of many others has been completely unacceptable. Some people in the party might in time forgive but no one will forget.

  2. Thank you for giving a voice to so many of us who did not have one in this instance .

    1. absolutely! it was yet just another pathetic and cruel attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and we are not falling for it!

    2. Thankyou so much to those who put their names to this letter. You speak for many. Chuka Umunna is behaving in a shameful way. The electorate do not pay his wages for him to spend his time trying to ruin the reputations of decent, honourable (would he be aware of the meaning of that word?), honest people.

  3. I’ve been called a “Jew Hater” by a local writer PJ Vanston, even though I have only ever criticised the occupied territories which most people know are illegal under international law – and even when I’ve stated I have absolutely no issue with anyone’s race, colour, religion or indeed nationality – so I very much welcome Jewish members of Labour putting their names to this letter. Well done and thank you!

  4. Umunna is a pompous, arrogant man who does more harm than good. He’s certainly no statesman.

  5. Politician without a principle…wait till next election. He would be elected as MP…..

  6. It would appear that Chuka Ummuna has bought into a definition of anti-semitism that includes any and all criticism of Israel or their policies. This is an entirely bogus definition and well done to those Jewish Labour people that are calling him out on this.

  7. There is no more potent voice supporting the protest against illegal occupation of palestinian land than Jewish people themselves. Terrorism is not confined to any race, and we all need to oppose what is happening to the Palestinians before their genocide is history. Israel has become the Emperor in the fairy tale [Emperor’s New Clothes] . . no one dares tell him he has exposed himself for fear of being seen as offensive.

    1. Dear Caro, I am not happy in the role of criticising posts on this great website, and I’m sure we would agree on most things pertaining to Palestine and Israel, but please allow me two points.
      Why would the voices of Jewish people themselves be more potent in protesting Israeli occupation of Palestinian land than the voices of Palestinians themselves?
      Secondly, in my book Israel is occupying all of historic Palestine, not just the West Bank and Gaza. (I know the Gaza case is a bit different, namely control from outside.) The usurpation of Palestine has proceeded in stages, first under British bayonets ca. 1917-1948, then directly by Israel of most of Palestine 1948-1967, then the rest 1967 to date. There is no logical distinction between the three phases in terms of the concept ‘occupy’.

  8. A comprehensive and timely exposure of Umunna’s disgraceful behaviour. Well done!

  9. Fantastic and to the point, slowly my faith in the people to do the right thing is being restored! So proud of your courage.

  10. I am jewish and in my experience Jeremy is absolutly NOT anti semetic. He stated a truth whe he pointed out that the actions of a zionest goverment does not reflect the views of the vast majority of jews in the same way the actions of ISIS does not reflect the views of the vast majority of muslims, although it must be said we both need to be vocal and active in denouncing terrorism. As a jew who knows theat both Israel and palestine need to exist with equal status he has my thanks and my vote

  11. Let’s hope Streatham CLP members are monitoring Umuna’s conduct and behaviour.
    There will be new parliamentary boundaries soon and they will have to decide on a new candidate.
    Is there any good reason to re-select him for it?

  12. This is so heartening reading this post . It’s very depressing being called anti Semitic for criticising the awful
    Pogroms against Gaza
    And it’s become a cheap expedient term of abuse which is really offensive to the memory of the victims of real anti Semitusm

  13. The attempt to smear anyone who does not loathe Corbyn as an anti-Semite is vacuous, cretinous, highly disingenuous and racist in and of itself (as it uses an ethnicity for political point-scoring based on claims those who perpetuate this falsehood know full well are untrue.)

    Delighted to see this response to Chukka Ummuna’s racist lies.

  14. I find it extremely refreshing there are honest Jews willing to think out side of the current propaganda designed to let Israel commit terrible human rights violations unquestioned by the global Media.

    Its important to remember not all Israeli’s are Zionist as much as not all Zionists are Jews. Thus being against Zionism is by no means hating Jews, but that’s not to say some people who hate Jews (for what ever reason) do conflate the two.

    I am a romani and I feel due to our crossed history paths a close connection to Jews. This is I guess one of the main reasons I have such a vivid disdain for the military doctrine of Zionism and its application on the world stage and more specially Palestine.

    I thank you for supporting a truly wonderful man and I hope he is the next PM of the UK.

  15. I am fairly new to the Labour Party, and feel inspired that there are members like you all in the party who are courageous in standing up for what is right. I now know that joining was the right decision.

    Totally disappointed in this Labour MP, who has completely gone down in my estimation for using the report selectively. This does not help in the fight against anti-semitism


    1. If this MP has such disdain for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader,why didn’t he continue during the Labour leadership campaign for the privilege instead of crying off due to personal reasons. He needs to discontinue as Mr Corbyn has won two elections and it is now starting to sound like sour grapes from the PLP.

    1. I don’t know what you mean by “follows Ummuna”. The interim chair of the Home Affairs Committee has a name that sounds like “Lawton”. He is Tim Loughton. Is that who you mean?

      1. Not sure – by follows I mean “speaks after” – he repeats the “accusation” that Livingstone was a friend of Corbyn. He appered to have an assistant who left with him.

        1. Yes, the MP who spoke straight after Ummuna in the video clip above was Tim Loughton. The person who stood up and left when he did was not an assistant but another Conservative MP, Victoria Atkins.

          1. Thank you for your help – Ms. Atkins seemed to be showing deference to Loughton which is why I thought she might be an assistant. Loughton like Ummuna adopted an unproductive, belligerent mode of questioning which was not helpful.
            There appears to be something very unpleasant going on in the right wing of the Labour party and their collusion with some of the the worst elements of the Conservatives.

        2. Thatcher was a “friend” of Pinochet if friendships have anything to do with this – there are also many “friends” of Israel in Parliament who seemingly support the ethnic cleansing of historical Palestine of its indigenous population and replacement with people largely of Eastern European origins

      2. For those who missed it, I transcribed quite a bit of the 4 July hearing (Home Affairs Committee vs Corbyn) and posted it on this website:
        Yes, I agree Ummuna grovelled and flopped, but as for Loughton, who obnoxiously and repeatedly asked Corbyn if Livingstone is his friend, did not get a straight answer from Corbyn, so his persistence and tone was, I think, actually justified. Corbyn should have just said, ‘Yes, Ken is still my friend.’
        Corbyn condemned Livingstone’s remarks as absolutely unacceptable, but didn’t say why. Were they ‘anti-semitic’? Ken’s history was, after all, actually right on. Anyway, for me it poor politician performance all around and I wonder which MP we can really rely on.

        1. When you are the Leader of the Labour Party of the UK Blake Alcott hopefully then you shall possess the wisdom & foresight too know which MP you & the 500,000 members you can rely upon !

  16. Thanks for this. Chuka Umunna has a polished exterior hiding a disingenuous approach to this topic for which his motives are insincere and self-serving.

  17. As a Labour Party member and someone from a Jewish family background I would like to be associated with the sentiments expressed in this letter

  18. This is an excellent article. I like this topic. This site has many advantages. I have found a lot of interesting things on this site. It helps me in so many ways. Thanks for posting this again

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