The UK Labour Party, which has been beset by claims of institutional antisemitism and a failure to deal with it, has expelled a prominent member and party activist for antisemitic comments she made in 2016.
Jackie Walker was a former vice-chair of the hard-Left political grouping Momentum inside the Labour Party, but courted controversy when she said in comments on Facebook in May 2016 that “many Jews were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade.”
She also said in the same year that “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Memorial Day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced holocaust?” and stated that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day does not mark “the African holocaust.”
Walker was originally suspended by the Labour Party in May 2016 following her original comments, but was reinstated shortly thereafter. She was suspended again in October that year for her comments about International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In a statement to the press on Wednesday, a Labour Party spokesperson said that the National Constitutional Committee found the charges of breaches of Party rules by Jackie Walker to have been proven.
“The National Constitutional Committee consequently determined that the sanction for this breach of the rules is expulsion from Labour Party membership,” reads the statement.
The case presented by the party to the NCC was about a pattern of behavior displayed by Jackie Walker over time, including many comments on social media of a problematic nature.
The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), a formal affiliate of the Labour Party, expressed frustration with the lengthy amount of time – nearly three years since her first suspension – that it took to deal with Walker’s comments.
“Despite a clear and unambiguous case of prejudicial and grossly detrimental behavior against the Party, this expulsion comes two and a half years too late,” said the JLM.
“Our members will be expected to be grateful. Instead, they’ll be angry it took so long, and angry that many people will want to say ‘job done’ on antisemitism in the Party,” said a spokesperson, adding that “very little action has followed in truly addressing the scale and impact of antisemitism within the Labour Party.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust echoed this sentiment stating “The hearing took far too long to happen. It made the right decision, but nobody wins in this latest ugly case of disreputable behavior.”