JVL’s Wimborne-Idrissi claims ‘Holocaust deniers’ ignored by Labour

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JVL’s Wimborne-Idrissi claims ‘Holocaust deniers’ ignored by Labour

In comments made on a new podcast Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi claims Holocaust deniers are ignored 'over and over again' by the party who 'look at their credentials' and say 'Oh, he's a right-winger, no, no, he's fine. He can carry on.'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi addressing the Labour Party annual conference 

 Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi addressing the Labour Party annual conference Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jewish Voice For Labour co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi has claimed the Labour Party has ignored cases of Holocaust denial “over and over again” because the culprits are “right-wing.”

In comments made in a new podcast, Wimborne-Idrissi alleged: “There are cases where people have said ‘we’ve got a Holocaust denier in our branch. What are you going to do about it?'”

She claimed such admissions were then greeted with the response: “Oh, let’s have a look at his credentials. Oh, he’s a right-winger, no, no, he’s fine. He can carry on.”

The pro-Jeremy Corbyn activist made her controversial claims only weeks before she was due to be welcomed onto Labour’s ruling NEC body, having won the support of a left-wing faction of the party in recent internal elections.

Wimborne-Idrissi is also due to speak at a fringe JVL event on Monday, held to coincide with Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.

She also that Labour’s party “bureaucracy was fanatical about perceived antisemitism” while “failing to deal with real antisemitism.”

The JVL media officer also criticised attempts to pursue a “zero tolerance” approach to antisemitism in Labour, arguing the party was no different to wider society in terms of prejudices.

She spoke of “this mad idea of zero tolerance – a discredited idea and its foolish.”

And claimed the very definition of what antisemitism was had been “changed” as a result of the influence of Israel and Zionism.

“The way the whole conception about what antisemitism is, how it should be combated,… the role of Israel in that whole equation, and where Zionism fits in is absolutely fascinating,” said Wimborne-Idrissi, citing a book written by Anthony Lerman.

“We are now in a situation where expression of opposition to Zionism… Israel is not the solution to antisemitism. It is critical to the Zionist idea, if you have a Jewish state antisemitism will be solved.

“Obviously this has not been the case, so the fight against antisemitism shifts to a defence of Israel.”

In further remarks Wimborne-Idrissi claimed Labour’s NEC “meets irregularly” and that the 40 member strong body had reduced power in the party, with the “influence of the left tiny.”

“Our voice is going to be minute,” she claimed.

In conversation with Mark Sedden, a former Labour NEC member, Winborne-Idrissi also insisted the party’s leadership meanwhile  “dreamed up all sorts of things about left wing people that are incredibly divisive and damaging.”

In further controversial claims, made to the Palestine Deep Dive podcast, she suggested the Jewish Labour Movement had been at the centre of fabricating claims of antisemitism in Labour, with the publication of allegations of alleged anti-Jewish conduct in the Oxford University Labour Club.

“The accusations that were made have been investigated and found to be entirely fabrications,” Wimborne-Idrissi incorrectly claimed.

A report conducted into the allegations by Baroness Royall in 2016 had concluded there have been “some incidents” of antisemitic behaviour towards Jewish students in the Oxford Labour club.

In further remarks, Wimborne-Idrissi condemned the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and “a whole host of mainstream groups” for calling for her to be expelled from Labour.

She said she herself believed in free speech and debate, on issues such as the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

While Wimborne-Idrissi said she accepted the right of JLM to exist within Labout “I don’t accept their right to speak for every other Jew.”

She cited the recently published Forde Report, claiming JLM”s antisemitism training was not effective.

Jewish News approached Labour for comment over Wimborne-Idrissi’s remarks about Holocaust deniers in the party.

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