Analysis Breaking comment

‘Proud widow of wrong sort of Jew’ tells Starmer: Mike faced antisemitism from you, not members

Dee Howard’s husband Mike died in 2021 while suspended by Labour for supporting Palestinian rights, without even receiving an acknowledgment of his appeal

The late Mike Howard protesting on behalf of NHS staff

In 2020, not long after Keir Starmer conned his way into the Labour leadership and began his purge of the left – and especially left-wing Jews who support Palestinian human rights – Jewish Voice for Labour member Mike Howard was suspended by Labour. He died in November 2021, still suspended and entirely ignored by Keir Starmer and the party machine. His proud but furious widow, Dee, has written to Keir Starmer and asked Skwawkbox to publish what she told him:



When my husband, Mike Howard, was suspended from your Labour Party in 2021 he was in shock. You accused him of anti-Semitism even though he was Jewish on both sides of his family. Both sets of his grandparents escaped the pogroms in Russia and Poland, making their way across Europe to seek the safety of Britain. Mike himself suffered from anti-Semitism at school in the predominately Jewish East End of London. He was ‘The fat little Jew boy’ to his bullies. His father, Gabriel, had changed the family name to Howard, from the Polish Kobelski, just before Mike was born, in the hope that his child wouldn’t suffer the anti-Semitism that he had had to put up with.

When Mike left school at the age of 15, because of the anti-Semitic bullying, he left with no GCEs to his name but strove to better himself, by studying at evening classes to gain the necessary GCEs and A levels to study for a Librarianship degree in Newcastle, which he obtained in 1976.

He never suffered anti-Semitism in any of the 6 CLPs he has lived in, although he has outside of the party, so to suffer it from the leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, was horrendous to him.

Mike has fought racism and discrimination of every kind for his whole life, since he joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in 1070, at the age of 19, and even recruited his parents and younger brother to the party that he believed in and fought so fiercely for. He took part in all the anti-racist campaigns that were organised, canvassed in every election for candidates who believed in equality, and ran a group, and volunteered, as a McKenzie Friend in court many times to oppose the hated Poll Tax.

We both left for a time during the Tony Blair years, as we were so against the Iraq war. However when we moved to Hastings in 2003, as the local party was known to be a good, active, left wing one, we both rejoined.

Mike took part in every election campaign, was always on the selection committees to select candidates, was a member of the GC the EC and the Campaign Committee, membership secretary for our branch, and worked his guts out for the party time after time.

In 2012 he was chosen to represent West St.Leonards ward in the local elections and won against the sitting Tory, Matthew Beaver. He worked very hard for his constituents and even had his name inscribed on a plaque unveiled at the playground he helped get through, as well as fundraising for it, with the local residents association.

He had to stand down in 2018 when I became seriously ill but, following my recovery, put himself forward to stand as the Labour candidate in our home ward, Maze Hill.

Mike, and the local party, were very happy he was selected and, with ward officers, began planning his election campaign. Imagine his shock when, six days later, he received an email from the national Labour Party secretary, David Evans, to say that he was suspended for so-called anti-Semitism, and therefore would not be allowed to represent the Labour Party in the local elections, or attend or take part in any Labour Party meetings. So much for democracy.

His crime? Mike supported the Palestinian struggle and made it known among members in person and online, and was supported by the majority. He could not understand how you, Keir Starmer, weren’t opposing the bombing raids from Israel, after all you purported to be a Socialist, so why weren’t you supporting the downtrodden Palestinians when the IDF came and demolished their homes and crops, to clear the land for the building of settler homes?

You were quoted as saying that you supported Israel unreservedly. We all know that your wife is Jewish and that you are bringing up your children as Jewish, even though you are not yourself, but why do you insist on all members of the Labour Party following your lead to support an apartheid state like Israel? Is there anything in the Labour Party rule book to say that all members must support the Israeli bullies and not the bullied Palestinians?

Mike’s Appeal letter was sent to the Labour Party by the solicitors firm, Bindmans, which Mike, or Bindmans, never even received an acknowledgement of, let alone a response.

Mike Howard died on 11th November 2021. He was still suspended till the day he died with the stain of anti-Semitism on his memory. He didn’t hate Jews as Jews, or hate himself, just the state of Israel, who tried to pretend that they represented ALL Jews. Well they didn’t represent Mike, as he was a caring Socialist as Keir Starmer SHOULD be as the leader of the so-called opposition party in Britain.

Yours disappointedly,

(member you chucked out for being too left wing)

To this day I have received no apology from Starmer, or his Labour Party, for Mike’s slur.

Solidarity with all those persecuted, by Keir Starmer and the apologists for apartheid, for standing up for the human rights of Palestinians and against oppression, murder, occupation and apartheid.

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