last friday evening (23rd september), 8.16-8.27pm, on bbc radio 4
any questions (chaired by jonathan dimbleby), with shami chakrabarti, tim farron, harsimrat kaur, and brandon lewis, includes …
Chakrabarti completely avoids answering the question, and diminishes the issue of anti-semitism in Labour by:
(i) saying it’s not just in the Labour Party,
(ii) treating it equally with “instability toxicity and misogyny“,
(iii) rambling about sandwiches, “stepping-up”, and party history, and
(iv) pleading “please don’t demonise every member of Momentum and call them anti-semitic“
~Is Jeremy Corbyn himself in your view doing enough as leader to combat what you have just described?
I think that he has listened and I think that he is stepping up, and I’ll say this as well, Tim has talked about Momentum, I don’t think Momentum should be demonised either, and I want to say this on the record, because I met lots of Jewish members of Momentum, and they are entitled not to be demonised in their political home either, you know and those young people, you know Momentum is chaired by a Jewish person, so please can we not demonise a grass-roots movement of any party. I don’t demonise people who voted for Brexit and say they’re all racists. please don’t demonise every member of Momentum and call them anti-semitic. [applause]
~I ask that question … because there was a video made very recently in which supporters of Labour party, activists, were filmed effectively saying that they were fed up with being constantly asked questions about anti-semitism, It was tweeted by Jeremy Corbyn, there were protests, not least I think by the Board of Deputies of the Jewish Labour Movement, and since that has been withdrawn and apologies have been made. Shouldn’t Jeremy Corbyn, if he’s as alert as you’ve described him as being, have been very careful not to tweet that film which would be open to that interpretation so easily?
It’s very very difficult isn’t it when you’re in a position of civil war in a party, it’s very very difficult to be your better selves. I engaged in this work because I wanted my colleagues to be their better selves, but when people are all throwing stones at each other, it’s very very difficult to civilise the discourse. I hope that this ends tomorrow, and the party will unite around its values, of race equality, more that anything else.”
(if you missed it, available from 0:13:45 to 0:25:00 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07vwr06#playt=13m42s)