‘Second World War lessons not learned’, Labour left-winger tells pro-Palestine event

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‘Second World War lessons not learned’, Labour left-winger tells pro-Palestine event

Yasmine Dar, aiming to be re-elected onto Labour's NEC and current Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester, was a speaker at a meeting of the Arise and Labour and Palestine groups

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Yasmine Dar with Jeremy Corbyn
Yasmine Dar with Jeremy Corbyn

A Labour left-winger, aiming to be re-elected onto the party’s powerful national executive committee (NEC), has appeared to accuse the Israeli government of ignoring the “key lessons of World War Two” at a pro-Palestine meeting

In comments made at a joint meeting of the Arise and Labour and Palestine groups last month, Yasmine Dar, the current deputy lord mayor of Manchester, spoke of how “our leaders today ignore the key lessons of World War II … There is a lack of historical memory and moral compass.”

This set the stage for Dar to continue:“We need to lead and ensure that our families, our friends, our communities are updated regarding the issues on the ground in Palestine. … We are all here to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

She added:“Too many years have gone by and the oppression and persecution has increased. It’s not decreased. This is not the world that our forefathers tried to rebuild after World War II. Indeed, we are already living in the cowardly new world.

“Remembering we belong to one race, the human race, absolutely paramount to everything of who we are. We need to be loud and clear in our condemnation of the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians.”

Dar, a local councillor in Moston, spoke at the July 18th Time To Speak Up For Palestine meeting ahead of bid to be re-elected onto Labour NEC as one of the Grassroots Five list of candidates, who also include Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi of Jewish Voice for Labour.

A spokesperson for the Henry Jackson Society told Jewish News: “Yasmine Dar’s comments are contemptible as well as historically vacuous. It is difficult to see how she can continue occupying an important civic post like Deputy Lord Mayor of a great city like Manchester given the role requires impartiality and temperate behaviour, not the stream of invective she has engaged in.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon and John McDonnell are among those to have urged members to vote for the five in the current internal Labour election.

Dar has been openly criticised in the past over comments relating to Israel and on antisemitism.

In response to the opening of the EHRC investigation into Labour antisemitism she said: “I haven’t seen any evidence that this prejudice among a minority of members is an institutional problem.”Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was openly critical of Dar’s comments.

But she insisted:“It would be wrong and dangerous to underestimate the scale of the problem across society at large by focusing exclusively on a minority of members within the Labour Party”, she added.

She concluded with a charge that the EHRC was engaged in nothing less than “political point scoring, which does nothing to protect the interests of minority communities”.

Last year Jewish News revealed Dar was one of the ten NEC members who voted against Labour’s plan to proscribe four groups, including Labour Against the Witch Hunt and Chris Williamson’s Resist, which had downplayed or denied antisemitism allegations.

She also wrote an article for “Labour Outlook” which panned the proscriptions. “We cannot afford to be complacent as these four organisations may well be only the start”, she said.

She also complained that the NEC received “no satisfactory answers to questions about restoring the whip to Jeremy Corbyn”.

Jewish News approached Dar for comment over her remarks on Israel and World War II but she did not respond to our email.

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