FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Jewish Voice for Labour at party conference 2018 in Liverpool


·         JVL promotes new film, The political lynching of Jackie Walker, exposing rightwing campaign to undermine the left

7pm Sept 25, Blackburne House, Blackburne Place, L8 7PE

·         FBU leader Matt Wrack joins Jewish and Palestinian speakers on combating far right movements that are often antisemitic and pro-Israel

5.30 pm Sept 24, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB

·         Jewish support for Corbyn at Labour Party rally

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY 6pm Sept 22, Liverpool Pierhead


After many months of defending the Labour left against unprecedented attacks alleging “institutional antisemitism,” Jewish Voice for Labour will on Tuesday bring to the Labour Party conference fringe a new documentary exposing the campaign to destabilise Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership because of his socialist politics and his support for Palestine.

In “The political lynching of Jackie Walker,” filmmaker Jon Pullman reveals previously unseen footage, recorded over a year in the UK and Europe, as he interrogates the issues behind the headlines about Black Jewish activist and Corbyn ally Jackie Walker, suspended from the Labour Party for alleged antisemitism.

Pullman says: “I wanted to draw parallels between historical struggles against race-based oppression and the unfolding tragedy of Palestine. The film connects McCarthy-era America and the current attempts to demolish the political left. Above all it points out the danger of a hierarchy of suffering, the scapegoating of the ‘other’ and where that may ultimately lead us.”

These themes will also be to the fore at JVL’s fringe meeting on Monday, where Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack will join Jewish and Palestinian speakers on “Palestine/Israel: Antisemitism & Fighting the Far Right.” The meeting will deal with attempts to define antisemitism in a way which denies free speech to Palestinians while endangering unity in the face of rising far right racism. Many far right movements are Islamophobic and antisemitic but simultaneously supportive of Israel.

Before conference gets under way, JVL members and supporters will be out in force showing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party rally on the Liverpool Pierhead on Saturday evening, with placards reading Jews for Jeremy, United Against Racism, No to Antisemitism and Free Speech for Palestine.

·                   From Saturday through Wednesday JVL will have authoritative speakers, including conference delegates, available for interview.

·                   Note that both meeting and film show are likely to be heavily oversubscribed and security will be tight because of the threat of disruption. Contact JVL’s media officer in advance for a press pass.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1.    JVL’s fringe meeting is on Monday Sept 24 at 5.30 pm, dealing with Palestine, Israel, antisemitism and fighting the far right. It is listed in the conference fringe programme.

Venue: 54 St James St L1 0AB

Speakers: Matt Wrack, FBU; Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, Palestinian human rights lawyer; Jonathan Rosenhead, JVL committee.

2.    Preview of new one-hour film based on the “Political Lynching of Jackie Walker” on Tuesday Sept 25 at 7pm.

Venue: Blackburne House, Blackburne Place, L8 7PE

A two-minute trailer is available on YouTube.

Post-show discussion with filmmaker Jon Pullman and Graham Bash, editorial board member of the Labour Representation Committee magazine Labour Briefing. LRC is sponsoring the evening along with JVL.

This event was denied a listing in the conference fringe programme because Jackie Walker is suspended from Labour Party membership.

3.     About Jewish Voice for Labour

JVL, launched at last year’s party conference, campaigns to defend democracy and the socialist Corbyn Project, providing a much-needed alternative Jewish space. Tackling antisemitism is an issue we take seriously.

We provide resources, training on antisemitism, and a media presence. We see the direct connection between the struggle against antisemitism and struggles against other forms of oppression. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is already being used to silence Palestinian voices and perspectives. JVL is working hard to defend free speech on Israel/Palestine.

We believe the time is long overdue to address the rise of the far right across Europe, the USA and in the UK; these movements are often both antisemitic and pro-Israel. JVL will be active at conference supporting the drive for an open, democratic party accountable to its members, for radical policies that speak to the millions of British voters tired of austerity, and for a solid commitment to combating the rise of the far right.

4.    Resumé of the film “The Political Lynching of Jackie Walker” by its author Jon Pullman

Jackie Walker understands a thing or two about racism and the struggle against political repression. Her father, a Russian Jewish communist, and her Jamaican-born mother were hauled off segregation buses during civil rights protests in America’s deep south in the 1950s.
Now, against the background of a polarising political climate in the UK and rising public criticism of Israel’s decades-long oppression of the Palestinians, Jackie finds herself at the sharp end of what has been widely described, to the outrage of those who have actually engineered it, as a witch-hunt.
Accused of antisemitism by both the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party and a variety of Israel-supporting lobby groups, Jackie Walker’s incisive views have led to a personal smear campaign of rare ferocity, involving her removal as vice-chair of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn’s grassroots support campaign group, Momentum, and current suspension from party membership.
Attempts to defend herself have been all but ignored by mainstream media while venues have come under pressure to prevent her from speaking publicly. Indeed it was in 2017, over a hastily organised PA system on the steps of a Methodist church hall in central Edinburgh, where her speaking event had been cancelled at the last minute, that I first encountered her.
The details so far, compelling in themselves, would warrant the interest of any activist filmmaker drawn to issues of free speech, especially on a matter so urgent as Palestinian human rights. Yet at the heart of my upcoming film (working title, The political lynching of Jackie Walker) lie a cluster of other significant dots demanding to be joined together.
Taking a cue from her one woman show The Lynching, a defiant riposte to her determined media and political silencing, the film draws powerful parallels between historical struggles against race-based oppression and the unfolding tragedy of Palestine. It makes connections between McCarthy-era America and the current attempts to demolish the political left. And above all, it points out the danger of a hierarchy of suffering, the scapegoating of the ‘other’ and where that may ultimately lead us.