Video: Umunna ‘flexible’ on Labour antisemitism – from ‘seen none’ to ‘beyond doubt’

Right-wing Labour MP Chuka Umunna was criticised earlier last week by Unite boss Len McCluskey, who attacked Umunna’s “paucity of evidence” for the “institutional antisemitism” Umunna had alleged in an article for the Independent. Umunna wrote:

The Macpherson Report defined institutional racism as “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin”. It said this “can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people”. Based on its actions (or failure to act), it is beyond doubt that Labour, as an institution, meets these criteria insofar as the Jewish community is concerned – something which should shame every member of our party

The deflection

Umunna responded on Twitter to McCluskey’s criticism of his lack of evidence – not by providing evidence, but by the apparent right-wing default response of saying he wouldn’t be “bullied into silence”.

The SKWAWKBOX asked Mr Umunna’s office several days ago:

McCluskey commented that Chuka hasn’t provided any evidence, not that he should be silent if he has any. The tweets seem essentially non-responsive to Len McCluskey’s actual criticism. Is he planning on providing any evidence?

No response has been received.

The u-turn

Mr Umunna’s reluctance to respond to the challenge to provide any evidence for his claim may be caused by him not having any.

In October 2016 – just after the release of Commons Home Affairs Committee report (CHAC) in which he participated said that there was no evidence for what has been called a ‘Labour antisemitism problem’ – Mr Umunna put out a Facebook post saying:

umunna AS2.png

Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) member Peter Willsman was roundly attacked for similar comments during a recent NEC meeting, in which he asked other members who had seen antisemitism, because he hadn’t.

Umunna held similar views less than two years ago – yet now claims that institutional antisemitism, the very kind he said he refuted because he hadn’t seen a single antisemitic incident in the party in twenty years, is ‘beyond doubt’.

That’s a very short time for something to become institutionalised.


But Chuka Umunna seems to have a conflicted relationship with the idea of antisemitism in the Labour Party. In July 2016 – three months before his comment that he had not seen a single incident of antisemitism in the party, Umunna had to be scolded by the Chair of the CHAC for an obsession with what Umunna claimed was ‘party within a party’ Momentum and its alleged antisemitism:

It’s interesting to note that the aspect of the antisemitism issue Umunna found most offensive was a perceived insult to him and his fellow ‘centrists’.

But most noteworthy of all is the fact that within Laboura ‘party within a party’ is most certainly ‘within the party’, Umunna had no problem identifying antisemitism in July 2016.

And Umunna clearly did not associate antisemitism with his party’s leader – because he suggested to Corbyn that the supposedly-antisemitic Momentum should be wound up so the ‘good’ people in Momentum could just serve the movement “in a Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn“.

But by October 2016, three months later, Umunna had never ‘seen one incident of antisemitism in almost 20 years of activism‘.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Umunna’s office for comment about the video, its contrast with his current position and its relevance to his failure now to respond to McCluskey’s challenge to provide evidence for Labour antisemitism.

No response was received to that request either.


When Momentum was the immediate target, Umunna found antisemitism galore – but just three months later, just after the issuing of the report that resulted from the above hearing and others, he hadn’t seen any.

Now antisemitism seems to have migrated from Momentum to the Labour leader that Umunna wanted to see Momentum members devote themselves to exclusively in July 2016.

Umunna’s changing – not to say flip-flopping – position on Labour antisemitism and his varying application of it have drawn attention on social media, with one observer commenting:

umunna flex.png


What does Umunna’s ‘flexible’ attribution of antisemitism say about him – and about the wider group of right-wingers who suddenly believe antisemitism in Labour is ‘beyond doubt’ when at least some of them previously and demonstrably thought differently?

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  1. Ah, the morally promiscuous umunna’s been found out once more.

    Pay no heed to incompetent, impotent dullard. Didn’t even have the stones to front Corbyn in the leadership contests. Just that alone shows me what umunna’s about.

  2. umunna’d even bottle being in a leadership contest for this new centrist party he’s supposedly forming…Far too easily led to be any sort of ‘leader’ , is ‘our chukka’.

    Wish he’d just hurry the f**k up and get on with forming it.

  3. lets perhaps stop wasting valuable time and effort commenting on or writing about this political careerist spiv with ZERO to offer us in the Labour party or the people it represents !

    1. He certainly is more annoyance than actual threat 🙂
      The kind that without position would be cowed by a twelve-year-old telling him to fuck off.
      Unfortunately we’ll have to keep wasting time on them even after the election – at least until all the escaped ones are caught.
      Don’t even think of feeling sorry for them – they’ll be happy as pigs in shit conspiring against each other in the Old Tory Home on Gruinard.
      The parasites have to be quarantined or they’ll just infest the S*n readers all over again.

  4. Perhaps you could ask Chuka Umunna to confirm or deny that he quit the leadership race because he realised that he would never get the required number of nominations. But rather than accept his unpopularity amongst his peers with equanimity, like Tristam Hunt and May Creagh who also failed to get sufficient nominations, he came up with a cock and bull story of media intrusion. This is a man that is never off the media!

    1. Surely you could have found a way to express your understandable dissatisfaction with Chuka without the use of racist tropes.

  5. We all anxiously await Chuck ‘Um and the new “Neoliberal AntiDemocrats” Party, united by their opposition to democratic decisions to elect a Democratic Socialist as head of a Democratic Socialist Party and to leave the EU. We don’t know yet whether Chuck ‘Um will be the new leader or whether Liz 4% Kendal will lead the “Tory-Lite” tribute band.

  6. “As far as the Jewish community is concerned” oh dear is light weight Mr U treating the diverse Jewish community as an homogenous group?
    Some may consider this anti-Semitic?
    I read a wonderful piece by US author Richard Silverstein (Middle East Eye 8/8/18) in which he argued Conservative Jewish forces were in a moral panic at the number of Jewish citizens turning to secularism and he felt these Conservative forces were trying to impose one narrative on this diverse community: “Israel.”
    So it is also perhaps Jewish diversity which is also under attack.
    Mr C’s infantile piece in the Independent at a stroke abolished captalism, wealth, and class (it’s a miracle I tell you) and instead of the two extremes (Tories and Labour?) we perhaps just needed nice middle of the road people like him; so working people don’t think about things too much and just leave politics to ‘The Great Men and Women of History’ (without any original ideas in their heads) and they will deliver – CRUMBS!
    The light weight then says the left hate the rich and big business, no ‘Mr Poorly Read’ as many of the greatest thinkers have argued perhaps it is the labour of diverse working people that really creates the wealth and makes societies work and we just want more of our share of the wealth back – it’s the rehashed old Right Wing insult of ‘The Politics of Envy’ when it is in fact THE POLITICS OF ECONOMIC JUSTICE!

  7. Chucks would not be allowed to live in Israel, even when you’re a paid up member of friends of that region.

  8. Umunna is just a careerist in the Blairite tradition ! He just follows popular trends and endeavours to keep himself in the media spotlight !

    True socialist work for the people not themselves !

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