A meeting held by the left-wing Momentum organisation to demand Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party suspension be rescinded included an incendiary speech on “the Jewish Question” which suggested antisemitism “has been used as a diversionist weapon against the progressive forces.”
Labour MPs Jon Trickett, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon and John McDonnell all delivered speeches at Friday evening’s virtual event openly challenging Sir Keir Starmer over the decision to suspend the former leader over his response to the damning EHRC report into the handling of antisemitism complaints.
And Unite union executive Howard Beckett delivered his own interpretation of the EHRC report’s findings – claiming he believed the watchdog recognised the “reality” that Mr Corbyn had been “unjustly labelled” by the “right-wing media” and “given ownership of every act of antisemitism in the Labour”.
But addressing the ‘Stand With Corbyn’ event, Rivkah Brown, who writes for the Novara Media website, made reference to a book she said had been shared with her by a “comrade” written in 1942, Antisemitism and the Jewish Question by “the Austrian Jewish Marxist scholar I Renapp.”
She quoted a passage from the book in which she said the author wrote: “Throughout the ages antisemitism and the Jewish Question have been used as a diversionist weapon against the progressive forces and their struggle for a better and higher order of things and today they can still be used for the same purpose.”
Ms Brown continued: ”This is entirely relevant to our moment.
“We have just had a day, and you know years, when antisemitism and the Jewish question, as we might call it, have been used to distract us from what ought to be the focus of the Labour Party which should be about winning power but should also be about transformative change.”
Ms Brown’s speech was condemned by antisemitism expert, author and academic David Hirsh.
He told the JC: “Rivkah Brown reads out a passage written in 1942 by an apologist for Stalin’s antisemitism as though it tells us something about today.
“But she conflates antisemitism with ‘The Jewish Question’ and inverts their meanings.
“Nobody was at this event because they thought that antisemitism had hurt the ‘progressive’ Corbyn.
“They were there for the opposite reason: because they thought that the ‘progressive’ Corbyn had been hurt by ‘reactionary’ Zionists – that being the name for pro-imperialist and pro-capitalist Jews; quite opposite to the authentic Jews like Rivkah Brown.
“In truth, the Jewish Question was always really an antisemitic question. It was not, ‘How can humanity be stopped from menacing the Jews?’ but, ‘How can the Jews be stopped from menacing humanity?’ The Holocaust was Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish Question’.”