Momentum founder and Long-Bailey campaign manager makes comments in response to press enquiry
The SKWAWKBOX has been running a series of articles examining Jon Lansman’s support of Rebecca Long-Bailey’s decision to accept a list of ten demands by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD) – and his own past articles that would be likely to fall foul of that list.
Momentum founder Lansman is managing Long-Bailey’s leadership election campaign.
The first in the series looked at Lansman’s tweeted approval of an article in which Long-Bailey said that a defensive response to accusations of racism was never acceptable, alongside Lansman’s defensiveness when asked about his condemnation of the BOD’s ‘shame’ when it complained about a newspaper cartoon it considered antisemitic.
The second revealed Lansman’s anger at being asked about an article in which he discussed ‘apartheid’ in Israel and comparisons of Israel’s policies with nazi Germany – and said that both had some ‘validity’.
The third looked at Lansman’s 2016 article denouncing the ‘witch-hunt’ and ‘lynch mob’ attacking black Jewish activist Jackie Walker, who was subsequently expelled from the Labour Party – and Lansman’s support this week for Long-Bailey’s endorsement of the BOD’s demand that Walker must never be re-admitted to the party.
Mr Lansman’s article would be likely to fall foul of the current pattern of antisemitism complaints in a number of ways:
- former Labour MP Chris Williamson was suspended – and ultimately deselected as a Labour candidate – after being accused of antisemitism for arranging a showing of WitchHunt, a film about Jackie Walker
- Labour members are frequently accused of antisemitism for supporting either Walker or Williamson
- mention of ‘the Israel lobby’ similarly leads to accusations of antisemitism
- descriptions of Labour’s accusers as selective or motivated by a desire to help the Conservative party routinely lead to accusations of antisemitism or ‘denialism’
- descriptions of those making complaints as a ‘lynch mob’ or a ‘witch-hunt’ are treated as evidence of antisemitism
“Damaging the left”
Yet when the SKWAWKBOX contacted Jon Lansman to ask about these issues, Lansman did not live up to his endorsement of Long-Bailey’s prescribed non-defensive response.
Mr Lansman was asked:
The BOD specifically names Jackie Walker as someone who must never be allowed back into the Party. In 2016 you said suspending her was ‘the wrong call’, describing McNicol’s disciplinary process as ‘unfit’, condemning the ‘witch-hunt’ and selective ‘lynch mob’ and even attributing it to the Israel Advocacy Movement.
[Yet] you supported Becky’s support of the BOD pledges. Were you wrong in 2016 or are you wrong now?
In response, Lansman stated that he was wrong in 2016 – and that he would not be answering any more questions from a ‘cranky’ site that:
does nothing but damage the interests of the left.
‘Crank’ is a term often used by the so-called ‘blue-tick left’ to attack or mock working-class or pro-union left-wingers. In 2018, Jon Lansman condemned an article that used the term as “uncomradely and divisive”.
Jon Lansman’s past comments would lead to complaints if made by an ordinary Labour member under the BOD-demanded regime that he has endorsed this week.
Yet – in spite of his praise for Long-Bailey’s statement that a defensive response on such issues is never acceptable – he thinks that investigating the issues around antisemitism and asking him to clarify his position ‘does nothing but damage the interests of the left’.
And his use of ‘crank’ – which in 2018 he condemned – is a worrying reminder of the disconnect between the ‘blue-tick left’ and the working class Labour needs to reconnect with if it is to return to power.
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