Letter to Editor: My reflections after asking question on antisemitism at Harlow Question Time

Dear Sir,

I found Nick Churchill’s letter regarding alleged Antisemitism in Harlow’s Labour party a very interesting read.

I attended the hustings in Harlow and was incredibly disappointed that Laura McAlpine appeared unwilling and/or unable to answer the question regarding the same subject from the floor and refused to give any specifics on what, if anything, she would do about any issues of antisemitism in her party or even her own close-knit team. Merely saying, as she did, that an awful thing like antisemitism is disgusting and awful is in no way an answer but a sad and worrying deflection away from a genuinely concerning question.

This was further compounded by the views loudly and repeatedly shouted from a number of Labour supporters on the floor, regarding the Labour party members who had left the party due to antisemitism were just secret ‘dirty Tories’ all along. This begs very serious questions about how deep and wide spread these prejudicial and negative feelings towards the Jewish community in the Labour party?

This was only made more serious with Labour’s party leader also refusing to condemn or apologise for the myriad of reported antisemitic issues in his party in his recent interview with Andrew Marr. It makes me think that not only is this a known issue for the Labour party but likely a deliberate approach to deflect and ignore it in favour of other preferred issues of discrimination, set out in their new Race and Faith Manifesto. I almost cannot believe that any political party today would seemingly ignore one set of issues of Racial and cultural/religious discrimination in favour of other ones based on optics alone; because they believe it makes their opponents look bad. Millions of people have lived in fear and been killed due to antisemitism and it is a very serious issue that should never be marginalised, no Racial discrimination should ever be favoured over another, especially for political gain, it’s quite sickening. No one should be judged on what they are or how they were born, people should only be judged on their merits, who they are and what they have done.

The other more specific issue from the first part of that same question from the floor was regarding Brett Hawksbee. Laura McAlpine’s only response amounted to telling us that he’d [Hawksbee] said sorry and to play semantics with job titles, claiming that she had only a group of people she worked with and had no aides. I presume she meant the Labour activist group Momentum as they appeared to be there in force to shout down and distract (with physical noise-making devices) her political opponents, especially Robert Halfon the Conservative Party candidate who is also Jewish.

Quite shockingly it would appear that some also cheered on Mr Hawksbee as he aggressively approached the man who had just publicly identified himself as of Jewish Heritage after he had asked the Antisemitism/Mr Hawksbee question and furiously demanded that this man ‘come outside’ with him alone to get some ‘real answers’.

As Mr Hawksbee appears to be very active in Harlow Momentum I would be interested to find out if the Harlow Labour Party supports the activities of Momentum in the town?

I would also like to know if Harlow Momentum are affiliated to Harlow Labour and if Harlow Labour supports the activities of Momentum and do they condone the views of the person who apparently set up the Momentum group in Harlow?

I did read with interest an article in your pages about Momentum hosting the alleged AntiSemitic Chris Williamson earlier this year and you identified four sitting councillors as Momentum members:

Netteswell councillor, Shannon Jezzard
Netteswell councillor Nancy Watson
Bush Fair councillor Jodi Dunne
Mark Hall councillor Lanie Shears

Should they too now be investigated by the Labour party?

Yours faithfully

Aaron McManus-Wood

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5 Responses to "Letter to Editor: My reflections after asking question on antisemitism at Harlow Question Time"

  1. Dave Whitney   December 1, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    The video of the hustings published by Your Harlow shows no evidence of supporters of the Labour Party (or anyone else) using “physical noise-making devices” to drown out Robert Halfon or anyone else.

    There is no evidence for the claim in this letter that people heckled Robert Halfon for any other reason than his political views. The writer of this letter ought to withdraw the insinuation that any heckles by Labour supporters were motivated by an antipathy towards Mr Halfon’s ethnicity.

    It is disgusting that the author of this letter employs McCarthyite smear tactics against certain Labour councillors. I have no knowledge of whether or not any Councillors are members of Momentum. Membership of Momentum is not in itself a mark of anything other than adherence to anti-racist and internationalist socialist views. The writer of this letter wants us to believe that an organisation led by someone who happens to be Jewish is itself anti-Jewish. This seems more than a little unlikely.

    Finally, I think that the Editor of Your Harlow should carefully consider removing the potentially libellous allegation about a particular individual made in this letter.

  2. jarrett   December 1, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Here we have it again the veiled threats about libel again how many times is that now when you don’t like someone else’s view, God forbid the reds getting in power as open forums will be a thing of the past.

  3. Gary   December 2, 2019 at 7:11 am

    When all else fails the dirt flies. Accusations appear, articles are published, polling data articulated and that nasty word bias is fronted as fact.

    The Conservatives would rather concentrate on Labour than their own inadequacies for reasons of lack of integrity and policy and what policy they do have is just a rerun of the last nine years of austerity.

    The electorate in this town are not fools they know the game and hopefully will vote for real change. If they don’t then this town, like others, will still have people sleeping on the streets, still have underfunded public services, still wait for doctors’ appointments in over sized surgeries, consultant appointments cancelled, still wait hours for policing to arrive when ASB occurs on our streets and still have the Conservatives telling people it is the Labour party’s fault.

    If you still vote Conservative after all that then congratulations the booby prize awaits: A handshake from Boris Johnson!

  4. MickyB77   December 2, 2019 at 11:22 am

    D W, the hammer of the Marxists, surprised he hasn’t offered some-body
    outside, for a minute.
    Anti-Semitism is rife within Marxist circles. Ask a shop steward, or,
    ask Hawksbee ?

  5. MickyB77   December 2, 2019 at 11:38 am

    As usual, Gary doesn’t answer the question, does he ever ?
    Yet he rambles rubbish about his perception of what’s occurring,usually
    relating to when Bliar and Brown and Darling sent us broke, good time for
    the unions then, strikes and more strikes.
    I wonder why, our local council refused planning permission, to allow Marks and Spencer to open a food hall in the town centre store, it couldn’t be because
    of……………………. nah, it couldn’t, or could it ?

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