Academic who said ‘Zionists stopped Jews fleeing Nazi Germany’ to address Camden Labour branch

PUBLISHED: 09:08 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 25 July 2018

Protesters during the demonstration organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Protesters during the demonstration organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

A leading figure from a Jewish Labour Party group, who has suggested Zionists stopped Jews fleeing Germany before the Second World War, is due to speak to a Camden Labour meeting tonight.

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, who is a committee member of Jewish Voice for Labour, will speak to the Cantelowes Labour branch tonight.

He has previously suggested antisemitic tweets by Corbyn-supporting Labour accounts could be run by the Israeli state, said Zionists had stopped “hundreds of thousands” of Jewish people leaving Nazi Germany, and has supported Labour members who have been suspended for alleged antisemitism.

He appears to make the comments in a recording taken of a talk he gave at University College London in May.

While not being affiliated to the party, Jewish Voice for Labour only accepts Labour members. It was set up in 2017.

The talk was organised after a vote at a branch meeting on June 13. Members were told not to use social media while they discussed whether to invite the LSE emeritus professor.

It’s believed some members raised concerns about Prof Rosenhead’s views, and whether him giving a talk was appropriate.

The Cantelowes branch forms a part of the Holborn and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party (CLP).

The branches are drawn along ward boundaries, while the CLP mirror parliamentary constituencies.

Labour councillors for Cantelowes Angela Mason and Danny Beales said: “As councillors that represent Cantelowes ward residents, we want to make it clear that we oppose antisemitism in all its forms. This speaker does not represent our views, and we had no role in inviting him to speak at this meeting.”

“As councillors we voted for the full adoption of the IHRA definition - and the Council will continue to work in partnership with our Jewish community to tackle the clear issues that exist with antisemitism.”

Cllr Simon Pearson, who chairs the Cantelowes Labour Party branch said: “Members wanted to know more about antisemitism and the Israel and Palestine conflict, and as a member of the Labour Party, a former branch member, who is known to a number of branch members personally and is Jewish himself, he seemed a good choice to get the discussion going.

“Prof Rosenhead has been warned to expect a robust challenge from any members unhappy with views which it is alleged that he has expressed. You refer to criticisms of his views and possibly he will comment on whether he thinks those are accurate or fair.”

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