‘Anti-Semitism’ row reaches Scottish party with alleged intervention of former party leader
A SCOTTISH LABOUR LEFTIST claims she has been blocked from running for the party’s National Executive Committee with accusations that she is connected to anti-Semitism by former party leader Jim Murphy.
Rhea Wolfson, who is a leading young leftwing activist in the Scottish party, required a nomination by her Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Eastwood in order to run in elections for the leading party body.
However she has claimed that at a meeting of Eastwood CLP, which is Murphy’s local branch, the former local MP and party leader intervened in a debate on whether Wolfson should be nominated, allegedly warning that she was a supporter of the leftwing Momentum faction which Murphy implicated in anti-Semitism.
In a statement released on her campaign Facebook page (1 June) Wolfson said: “Last night Eastwood CLP, where my family home is, met to nominate candidates for the NEC. It was proposed that, given I am currently a member of the CLP, there would be a straight vote for or against my nomination.
“I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further. Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me.
— Vonnie Sandlan (@NUS_Vonnie) 1 June 2016
“He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-Semitism. The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.”
Wolfson, who has been a target for online anti-Semitic abuse from the far right since the announcement of her candidacy, said it was regrettable that she, as the only Jewish candidate for the NEC, would not now be able to stand.
Mate. Jim Murphy trying to defame Momentum due to "anti-semitism" by blocking their Jewish nomination. Pillock. https://t.co/uHggvgTnqY
— Corporate Becca (@becthulhu) 1 June 2016
She said: “It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging anti-Semitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced.
“But above all, it is disappointing because I know there are many members who want to vote for me, who could now have lost that opportunity.”
Murphy, who lost both his East Renfrewhsire (formerly Eastwood) seat and subsequently his leadership of Scottish Labour in the May 2015 general election was a long time supporter of the Labour right.
He was a member of the neo-conservative linked Henry Jackson Society that supports aggressive foreign policy.
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) 1 June 2016
Wolfson has openly campaigned as a member of the leftwing of the party around the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, which was the subject of numerous accusations of anti-Semitism in the run-up to local election on May 5 2016.
Her statement on events concluded that she would now consider her options.
Murphy was contacted to respond to the accusations, but had not done so by time of publication.
imagine you're Jim Murphy
— Kieran Hurley (@kieran_hurley) 1 June 2016
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Picture courtesy of Scottish Labour