Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has been urged to pull out of an event that would see him sharing a platform with a campaigner and activist who once claimed “Jews were the chief financiers of the slave trade”.
Momentum Vice-Chair Jackie Walker, who has attracted criticism for the above remarks, is due to appear at the TUC Congress in Brighton on Monday with the Shadow Chancellor.
On Facebook earlier this year, Walker asked:
“What debt do we owe the Jews?”
A user replied with “The Holocaust?” to which Walker, who herself has Jewish ancestry replied,
“I hope you feel the same towards the African holocaust? My ancestors were involved in both.
“Many more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues today on a global scale in a way it doesn’t for Jews.
“And many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade.”
For these remarks she was suspended from the Labour Party, but subsequently reinstated. Since, she has also claimed that the controversy around Shami Chakrabarti’s inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party was because she “didn’t do what the Zionists wanted”.
John Woodcock, Labour MP for Barrow in Furness called on McDonnell not to attend the Congress:
“John McDonnell and Jennie Formby should pull out of this event if Jackie Walker is on the panel or they will clearly contradict Labour’s pledge not to tolerate anti-Semitism in any form.
“Our party has already been badly damaged by fears that the leadership has not done enough to stop vile slurs against Jewish members; we cannot allow the impression that Labour figures would knowingly associate themselves with those who espouse anti-Semitic views.”
Luke Akehurst, director of We Believe in Israel said,
“It’s extraordinary and grotesque that rather than seeking to distance themselves from Jackie Walker after her disgraceful and inflammatory remarks about Jews financing the slave trade, leading figures on the hard left like Corbyn and McDonnell have started promoting her as some kind of icon who gets a platform speaking role alongside them at their rallies.”
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