Labour council candidate leaves Newham Momentum over alleged anti-Semitism

A Momentum supporter at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday September 2

A Momentum supporter at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday September 27th, 2017. Photo credit: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment. - Credit: Empics Entertainment

A Jewish member of Newham Momentum has resigned from the organisation, saying “I have witnessed more anti-Semitism in the past week than I ever have in my eight years of Labour Party membership”.

Joshua Garfield, who is the Labour candidate for Stratford and New Town in the upcoming local elections, will no longer serve as youth officer the branch of the grassroots hard-left pressure group.

“I have seen discussions on social media, both publicly and privately, between members of Newham Momentum and elected representatives of its Steering Group, which leave me unable to serve on that body in good conscience,” he said in a statement.

Mr Garfield said he had felt “sometimes unsafe” and “most certainly untrusted” as a Jewish member of the organisation.

“I cannot work alongside individuals who seek to silence the legitimate concerns of Jewish Labour members, or who remain silent in the face of blatant racism.”

“Denying that anti-Semitism exists within the Labour Party, or in its affiliated organisations, factions and supporters is misguided, ignorant and offensive,” he adds.

While he is supportive of the idea of education and anti-Semitism training, he says that even that would not be “sufficient to combat some of the deep-seated prejudices I saw be aired confidently”.

Most Read

Mr Garfield acknowledged that some may be trying to “weaponise” the issue to undermine the left’s credibility, but said “something cannot be weaponised if it does not exist”.

“Our Jewish comrades need solidarity, not faction based infighting.”

Mr Garfield said he still identifies with the left-wing of the Labour Party and still “fully supports the Labour leadership”.

“My politics remain unchanged,” he said.

A Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn is the only way to “eradicate inequality” and “effectively tackle racism,” he said.

While he will still campaign with momentum, he says he will “no longer be involved with Newham Momentum as a local organisation”.

A Momentum spokesman said: “As made clear in our recent statement, Momentum is committed to stamping out antisemitism across the Labour movement. In line with our code of ethics, any complaints we receive will be investigated fully, and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”