Keir Starmer is “serious” about purging the Labour party of anti-Zionism, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, has said in an interview with Jewish News where the MP from Leeds West conflated anti-Semitism with Israel’s founding political ideology.
Reeves made the remark while commenting on Kim Johnson. Earlier this month the Liverpool Riverside MP branded the Israeli government “fascist” during a question addressed to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the violence perpetrated by Israel and its practice of the crime of apartheid.
Reeves revealed that Johnson was given a dressing down by the party and that her subsequent apology was an indication that the party is booting both anti-Semitism and “anti-Zionism” out of Labour.
“To call a government ‘fascist’ and an ‘apartheid state’ is just totally unacceptable,” Reeves told Jewish News. “I don’t mind saying I was incredibly angry, frustrated, and depressed when I sat there and listened to Kim’s question.”
Pointing to Johnson’s swift apology, Reeves said that this would not have happened under Jeremy Corbyn. “I think that shows how seriously Keir takes booting antisemitism .. anti-Zionism ..out of the Labour Party,” she added.
Reaction to Johnson’s comment was highlighted as another example of the way in which Labour under Starmer tolerates no criticism of Israel whatsoever. “Israelis are calling their leaders fascists. Why can’t British politicians?” Ben Reiff asked in an article in +972 Magazine.
Labour’s intolerance to criticism of Israel has led anti-Zionist Jewish members being purged from the party. Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) – the main grouping of left-wing Jews in the Labour Party known for their highly critical stance on Israel – made the allegation in a 77 page report submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and to the Forde enquiry.