Shortlisted Labour Wakefield by-election candidate is target of ‘Zionist’ taunts
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Shortlisted Labour Wakefield by-election candidate is target of ‘Zionist’ taunts

Kate Dearden, who previously worked with UJS and JLM on projects, is targeted with 'Zionist' slurs ahead of a meeting to pick Labour's candidate to fight the Wakefield by-election

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A shortlisted Labour Party candidate for the by-election in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has been subjected to “Zionist” taunts from far-left activists.

Community Union official Kate Dearden was one of two names to make the final shortlist at a candidate selection meeting held in the constituency on Sunday.

Dearden, who grew up in nearby Bradford, had previously been an outspoken campaigner against antisemitism, working with the Union of Jewish Students and the Jewish Labour Movement in the past on projects with the community.

Outlining her manifesto, Dearden, who is not Jewish herself, wrote that if selected as the Labour candidate she would “fight for our shared Labour values and work to change people’s lives for the better.”

But in a series of online attacks from activists hailing themselves as “lefty” Dearden was taunted with attacks such as “Kate seems to have supported Zionists (UJS/JLM)”.

Another post by a Twitter user named Broadslide read:”Dinner with the Zionists is it? How can you be a socialist party when you have kicked out the Socialists. In fact this little vote has collapsed because you are all a farce.”

While another post stated:”Soo surprised to see Starmer’s choice is a Zionist supporter…”

At Sunday’s selection meeting Dearden was beaten to the candidate slot by NHS worker Simon Lightwood.

Another online post, responding to Dearden not being selected, stated:”Good. Go back to obscurity where you belong Zionist.”

The Wakefield constituency Labour Party executive, which is dominated by supporters of previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, staged a publicity seeking walk-out of the final selection meeting.

They offered no support for either of the two shortlisted candidates.

But the walk-out failed to stop the hustings and members vote from taking place to choose their favoured candidate.

One member, who voted in the hustings, told Jewish News they believed the walk-out was “just a pathetic stunt” .

The Wakefield by-election, for which a date has not yet been set, was prompted by Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan’s resignation after his sexual assault conviction.

Selected candidate Lightwood later said:”Wakefield has been without an MP and a voice at Westminster for over a year. The Conservatives now need to call this by-election so local people can finally get the representation they deserve.”

Dearden added:”I’m sad to say I wasn’t selected as Labour’s candidate for the Wakefield by-election.

“I wish the best to Simon Lightwood who I know will work hard to turn this seat red again.

“I look forwards to seeing everyone on the doors as we fight to win back Wakefield!”

Jewish News has also contacted JLM for comment.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

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...

Engaging

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.

Celebrating

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.

Pioneering

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.

Campaigning

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.

Easy access

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.

read more:
comments