15:35 28 September 2016
Broadstairs’ Jackie Walker, vice chair of the Corbyn-supporting group, Momentum, has been criticised for making allegedly anti-Semitic remarks
A Kent-based activist has been slammed for making allegedly anti-Semitic comments as Jeremy Corbyn used his conference speech to appeal to activists and members to end the “abuse and hate” in the Labour Party.
The re-elected leader said the party would take “firm action” against intimidation and vowed to fight against “prejudice and hatred of Jewish people”.
Mr Corbyn’s speech to activists in Liverpool came after a survey indicated nine in 10 British Jews believe the Labour Party is too tolerant of anti-Semitism among its members and supporters.
In addition to this, it was reported that Jackie Walker, who lives in Broadstairs and is vice-chair if the Momentum movement which supports the party leader, criticised Holocaust Memorial Day.
In an attempt to end the abuse which has characterised the bitter feud within Labour ranks, Mr Corbyn insisted that the party must be a “safe and welcoming space for everybody”.
He said: “There is a responsibility on all of us to take care with our rhetoric, respect democratic decisions, respect our differences and respect each other.
“We know that robust debate has at times spilled over into abuse and hate around our party, including misogyny and anti-Semitism, especially on social media.
“That is utterly unacceptable. Our party must be a safe and welcoming space for everybody and we will continue to take firm action against abuse and intimidation.
“And let me be absolutely clear: anti-Semitism is an evil. It led to the worst crimes of the 20th century, every one of us has a responsibility to ensure that it is never allowed to fester in our society again.
“This party always has and always will fight against prejudice and hatred of Jewish people with every breath in our body.”
Mr Corbyn’s speech came after footage emerged of Ms Walker being criticised for comments about Holocaust Memorial Day.
Video footage of a fringe event obtained by Huffington Post showed Ms Walker being jeered as she said “wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced Holocaust?”
When told the day was indeed for all post-Second World War genocides, she said “in practice it is not circulated and advertised as such”.
She also said she had not heard a definition of anti-Semitism she could “work with”.
On Twitter she later said “all holocausts are unacceptable – of course – and of all peoples”.
Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said: “The Holocaust was a defining episode in history where six million men women and children were brutally murdered simply for being Jewish, the very epitome of man’s inhumanity to man.
“Whilst Holocaust Memorial Day rightly and proudly commemorates the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, one has to wonder why Ms Walker takes issue with commemorating the mass extermination of Jews in its own right.
“The deliberate use of the term ‘Holocausts’ – plural – undermines and belittles the distinct nature of the tragedy itself, ignores that genocides are the result of diverse and unique factors, and also deprives the Jewish community of their collective memory.”