WitchHunt – the Premiere, at noon on 10th February

 

MEDIA NOTICE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WitchHunt film confronts attacks on Labour left

Jewish Voice for Labour <[email protected]>
07 February 2019 18:40


* Film premiere, 12 noon Sunday February 10, in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Cambridge and online

* WitchHunt reveals distortions surrounding attempts to expel former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, appearing before Labour’s National Constitutional Committee on March 26

* Ken Loach: “This film asks whether Jackie Walker’s lengthy suspension from the Labour Party and attempts to expel her are fair, or an injustice which should be challenged. She is not the only one in this position. See the film and make up your own mind.”

* Noam Chomsky: “This witch-hunt has sunk to scandalous accusations of antisemitism against long-term anti-racist activists and supporters of Palestinian rights.”

WitchHunt film trailer


A documentary being premiered in multiple UK locations on Sunday Feb 10 exposes the campaign to discredit the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership as one based on disinformation, fake news and dirty tricks.

WitchHunt, by Edinburgh-based filmmaker Jon Pullman, combines extensive archive material with authoritative new interviews, featuring experts in media, Jewish, black and labour history, racism and the politics of the Middle East.

Pullman says: “I’ve set out to explore the connections between the attacks on Labour, the unfolding tragedy of Palestine and the wider struggle against race-based oppression.”

The film examines the use of antisemitism allegations to silence critics of Israel’s human rights violations, such as black Jewish activist Jackie Walker, a former vice-chair of Momentum. She continues to be publicly abused by anti-Corbyn Labour MPs, even in the run-up to her hearing before the National Constitutional Committee scheduled for March 26.

Tight security will surround Sunday’s linked screenings in order to prevent disruption of the kind frequently experienced by pro-Palestinian political and cultural events. A planned preview of Pullman’s film last September, on the fringe of Labour Party conference in Liverpool, had to be abandoned because of bomb threats. As a result Sunday’s events will be invitation only. Guests will be notified of the venues shortly beforehand.

The London screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Jon Pullman, Jackie Walker, media analyst Justin Schlosberg and writer/comedian Alexei Sayle. Both film and Q&A will be available to view online in real time via YouTube and Facebook @jvoicelabour.


FURTHER INFORMATION

To arrange an interview with Jon Pullman or other contributors, or for more information about WitchHunt, email [email protected]


NOTES FOR EDITORS

About WitchHuntthe film

Documentary, HD video, 62 minutes, 2019, UK

Tag line:

The attempt to smash the most hopeful movement of our lifetime

Synopsis:

In 2015, while the far right was gaining ground around the world, socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the UK Labour Party in a landslide victory. Accusations of antisemitism within the party immediately began to circulate. Well-known anti-racists and left-wing Jews, such as Jackie Walker, were amongst the chief targets.

WitchHunt sets out to investigate the stories and the people behind the headlines, examining the nature of the accusations. Is this a witch hunt, as some claim? If so, who is behind it, and what is the political purpose of such a campaign? Has the media failed in its duty to fairness and accuracy in reporting on such serious allegations? Through a series of interviews, analysis and witness testimony, WitchHunt explores the connections between the attacks on Labour, the ongoing tragedy of Palestine and the wider struggle against race-based oppression.

Director: Jon Pullman

Executive producer: Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

Film website: witchhuntfilm.org

WitchHunt film trailer (two minutes)


About the director
Jon Pullman is an activist and filmmaker with a particular interest in the Middle East, where he has travelled widely. He has produced several short documentaries on Palestine, including Children in Chains, about child prisoners under Israeli military occupation.

Speaking of his latest film Pullman said:

“Attempts to discredit and vilify those who seek to speak out about Israel and Palestine have led to a narrative about antisemitism within Jeremy Corbyn’s resurgent Labour movement that has become virtually uncontested. This film seeks to throw light on vital contextual issues that have, until now, been almost entirely ignored.”


About Jackie Walker
Jackie Walker is a black, Jewish activist. She has been a teacher, education advisor on Equalities and Development Education and a community organiser. She has lectured and spoken across the UK and further afield. As vice chair of her local Labour Party in South Thanet she was a leading figure in the campaign to defeat UKIP’s Nigel Farage in the 2015 general election. Jackie campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to become Labour Party leader and was vice chair of Momentum. Her award winning memoir Pilgrim State is used in many universities and her one woman show The Lynching has toured in the UK and overseas.


About some of the expert contributors (A-Z)

Lewis Gordon
American philosopher and author of African and Jewish descent, working in the areas of Africana philosophy, theories of race and racism and philosophies of liberation. Gordon currently teaches at the University of Connecticut, USA, and is Honorary Professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University, South Africa.

Salma Karmi-Ayyoub
Criminal barrister and external consultant for the Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq. She acquired a post-graduate degree in law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007.

Paul Kelemen
Academic and author of The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce, Kelemen taught at the University of Dar es Salaam and was closely involved in solidarity campaigns and development work in relation to the Horn of Africa. He is on the board of trustees of the Ahamad Iqbal Race Relations Resource Centre.

Leah Levane
Co-chair of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and Labour Councillor in Hastings, Levane studied comparative politics at Cardiff University. She has worked mainly in the community development field, particularly in South London, working with local communities to tackle racism and divisions.

Moshe Machover
Mathematician, philosopher, and socialist activist, noted for his writings on Zionism.  Born to a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, Machover was a founder of Matzpen, the Israeli Socialist Organisation. In 1968 he moved to Britain where he became a naturalised citizen, later gaining his professorship at Kings College, London.

Justin Schlosberg
Senior lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, specialising in the relationship between media, power and democracy, he is the author of Power Beyond Scrutiny (Pluto, 2013). Schlosberg helped establish the Media Reform Coalition, which seeks a more just, accountable and democratic media. Its latest report, Labour, Antisemitism and the News: a disinformation paradigm, was published in September 2018.

Mark Thomas
Comedian, presenter, political satirist and journalist from south London. He first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience. His show Check Up – Our NHS @70 is currently touring UK theatres.

 

 

 

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