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.”
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”.
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.
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.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.