Home > News > Jewish Labour Councillors Expose Levels of Institutional Antisemitism within Party
18 March, 2018
(Photo: Haringey Councillor Joe Goldberg said that pro-Corbyn Labour members have subjected him and fellow Jewish councillor Natan Doron to regular antisemitic abuse.)
Two serving Jewish Labour councillors have spoken out for the first time to expose the “extraordinary” levels of “institutional anti-semitism” in Momentum’s Haringey heartland in north London.
Joe Goldberg and Natan Doron said they had been repeatedly abused to their faces by pro-Corbyn Labour members — including fellow councillors — with crude allusions to their race or insulting references to the Holocaust.
Goldberg, the council’s cabinet member for economic development, said he was accused by a Labour councillor of “bagel-barrel politics”. The same councillor criticised academy schools as comparable to “Kristallnacht”, the Nazi pogrom in which 1,400 synagogues were attacked and dozens of Jews murdered.
“This is not just on social media. Many members have repeated to me assertions about Jews having big noses, controlling the media and being wealthy,” he said.
“It has become impossible to operate as a Jewish councillor in the Haringey party without having your views and actions prejudged or dismissed in terms that relate to your ethnicity.”
Doron said he was twice harangued while out canvassing — not by voters on the doorstep but by fellow Labour members he was working with. “One of them started having a rant about how Israel was a Nazi country and I had no right to be offended because Israel had no right to exist,” he said.
The pair are among more than 20 serving Labour Haringey councillors who have resigned or been deselected and will be replaced in May’s local elections by pro-Momentum candidates. The council, which is safely Labour, is almost certain to become the first run by the hard-left group. After Goldberg announced his retirement, a Haringey Momentum activist, Shahab Mossavat, tweeted: “At least [you] will have more time to count your money.”
Doron’s replacement as a candidate, Charley Allan, was suspended from the party last year for using the insulting term “Zio”. Doron said: “People are worried and scared and Haringey Labour is definitely not a safe space for Jews. This is 100% not the party I joined.”
Goldberg said he had made at least five formal complaints to local officials but got nowhere. “I complained to the Labour whip, Lorna Reith, but she told me anti-semitism was a ‘debatable term’,” he said. Yesterday Reith said: “It doesn’t sound like anything I would say.” She said she took complaints of anti-semitism “extremely seriously” and that Goldberg had not responded to her invitations to meet.
On Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2015, Reith retweeted a picture equating Israel’s military attacks on Gaza to the Holocaust.
The Sunday Times has seen a report into one of the complaints showing that in 2016 Momentum’s then-chairman in Haringey, Phil Rose, admitted sharing material from an anti-semitic, far-right American website on the members-only Tottenham Labour Party Facebook group. Rose posted a link to rense.com, a recognised hate site, in a discussion about Jackie Walker, a national Momentum activist suspended after saying that Jews were the “chief financiers of the slave trade”.
Rose was cleared after insisting the material was not itself anti-semitic and he had not realised rense.com was a hate site. He said: “The motivation behind the complaint was to use alleged anti-semitism as a weapon to silence criticism of Israel.”
Haringey Labour officials did not return calls.