Hornsey & Wood Green Labour members stage walkout to support rabbi’s boycott
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Hornsey & Wood Green Labour members stage walkout to support rabbi’s boycott

EXCLUSIVE: Rabbi David Mason boycotted the meeting in protest at a hard left activist's proposed talk to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue
Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue

Labour Party activists in Hornsey and Wood Green have staged a mass walk out of a meeting in support of local member Rabbi David Mason.

Mason had announced he was boycotting Wednesday night’s meeting in protest at the decision to allow a hard-left activist — who had previously shared promotional material for the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party on social media — to deliver a Holocaust Memorial Day related talk.

But in a huge show of support for the Muswell Hill Synagogue rabbi, around 40 members of the north London CLP staged a simultaneous walk-out as Jewish Voice For Labour supporter Sue Hughes began to talk.

Local Labour MP Catherine West proceeded to launch an outspoken attack on the hard-left faction in her local party — and stated her support for Rabbi Mason.

Mason, a member of the Jewish Labour Movement, had always believed in confronting antisemitism in Labour, rather than quitting the party in protest.

One Hornsey and Wood Green member later told Jewish News: “Catherine West really kicked a*se tonight with her speech.”

An Instagram post shared by Sue Hughes

Another local member described it as a “big moment” in a long-running battle between moderate and left-wing factions in the local party.

Tensions flared after the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting confirmed Hughes, who had led the move to try to affiliate the Hornsey and Wood Green CLP with JVL three years ago, was listed to deliver a speech on “Jewish Women’s Resistance in the Holocaust” to members.

Hughes had last posted a condemnation of Israel on social media on allegations of ethnic cleansing and claims it was an “apartheid state”.

An tweet by Sue Hughes

The self-declared “socialist woman” previously shared a post containing the Socialist Workers Party brand and instructions for the overthrow of the government.

Rabbi Mason had also been listed to deliver a talk to the local party, of which he has been a long-time member, on the topic of Holocaust Memorial Day and the importance of it being commemorated.

After he announced his decision to boycott, many in the local party attempted to get the agenda changed.

But hard-left activists refused to back down, leaving Hughes free to go ahead with her talk.

The agenda for Wednesday night’s Hornsey and Wood Green CLP meeting, including Sue Hughes’ proposed talk

Yet as she began to speak, 40 of those in attendance at the online general committee meeting staged their walk out.

When the local MP intervened, some of the pro-Hughes camp attempted to barrack her as she defended Rabbi Mason’s actions.

But the hard-left faction was left with what one member described to Jewish News as “a bloody nose” on the night.

Another said: “It’s been a long-time coming. But finally, it looks like our CLP is getting its act together.”

In a statement Hughes later said she was “devastated ordinary members walked out” as the gave her talk.

She said her family had suffered in the Holocaust and claimed the way say had been treated was “antisemitic.”

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