VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Starmer must finish what he has started
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VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Starmer must finish what he has started

This week's Jewish News editorial asks what the attendance of two Labour MPs at a deranged anti-Israel rally means for Starmer's pledge to free his party from the curse of Corbyn.

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Stop the War Coalition rally attended by McDonnell and Sultana.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Stop the War Coalition rally attended by McDonnell and Sultana.

Just because Labour MPs John McDonnell and Zarah Sultana attempted to legitimise a deranged anti-Israel rally in Whitehall with their speeches does not mean they condone chants at the event urging Hamas to “blow up” an Israeli city. Far from it.

The pair were, however, damned by their presence.

What on earth were two of Keir Starmer’s MPs doing topping the bill – getting the crowd worked up into such a froth – at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Stop the War Coalition rally attended, in the main, by two types of boiling militants: those who happily cheer Jew killers and those who often tend to think along similar lines but remain in tenuous possession of the brain cell required to keep the volume down?

Labour’s former shadow chancellor John McDonnell
Danny Lawson/PA Wire

When he took over two years ago, Starmer pledged to free his party from the curse of Jeremy Corbyn.

It is a tribute to him that, according to a recent Jewish Labour Movement survey, 91 percent of its members believe Labour is genuinely trying to tackle antisemitism.

The return to the fold of former MP Dame Louise Ellman also spoke volumes.

There are those who happily cheer Jew killers and those who often tend to think along similar lines but are in tenuous possession of the brain cell required to keep the volume down.

Zarah Sultana speaking at PMQs

But as long as there remain places at Starmer’s table for the likes of McDonnell, Sultana and the eight other Labour MPs who recently did the Kremlin’s bidding by condemning Nato, the curse will maintain a menacing hold.

Boris Johnson’s government is a shambles. Today’s publication of Sue Gray’s report into illegal lockdown parties in and around Downing Street at the height of the pandemic provides yet more damning proof. But there can be no alternative to the Tories until Starmer finally finishes the job.

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