Die-hard Labour right-winger – or ‘centrist’, to use the mainstream media term – Luke Akehurst attended the well-known Limmud festival earlier this week for a debate with Momentum founder Jon Lansman. Akehurst seemed pleased with how it had gone:
The debate was reported in the Jewish Chronicle (JC) and Akehurst, who is not Jewish, argued that the left-wing Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) group should be proscribed – banned – by the Labour Party. The JC reported:
JVL’s website describes the reasons for its existence rather differently:
Our political priorities are universal human rights and dignity; justice for all; freedom of expression; and democracy in the Labour Party.
Our mission is to contribute to making the Labour Party an open, democratic and inclusive party, encouraging all ethnic groups and cultures to join and participate freely. As such we aim to strengthen the party in its opposition to all forms of racism including antisemitism, broadening the party’s appeal to all sections of British society. We take inspiration from the long history of Jewish involvement in the socialist and trade-union movements and in antiracist and antifascist struggles, including the anti-apartheid and civil-rights movements.
We stand for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere, and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere. We uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.Text from JVL’s ‘about’ page
But Akehurst’s advocacy for the proscription of JVL is troubling. The SKWAWKBOX asked him directly:
“You don’t see anything problematic in a non-Jew saying there’s a case for proscribing Jews because they’re not ‘useful’?”
He thought not:
No. Nor did the – 100% Jewish – audience, they applauded me saying it.Luke Akehurst
A non-Jewish right-winger claiming that Jewish people should be banned from the Labour Party because they’re not ‘useful’ – or because they take a different position to that of an organisation he favours – certainly looks troubling to the SKWAWKBOX.
But then, many aspects of the attacks by the right on Jewish left-wingers have been troubling for a long time, no less so for being largely ignored.
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