December 11, 2019

Labour activists accused of hurling antisemitic abuse at Jewish protesters during Corbyn rally

Source: Telegraph
Bristol - Labour activists have been accused of hurling antisemitic abuse at Jewish protesters during a Jeremy Corbyn rally in Bristol.

Supporters of the Labour leader allegedly verbally abused a group of Jewish students from Bristol University who were protesting against the party’s record on antisemitism.

Students claimed they were called “filthy Zionists”, “puppets of the Zionist lobby” and “filthy Jews” by Corbyn-supporters ahead of his address at an election rally in the city centre on Monday.

Seb Sultan, a politics finalist at Bristol University, said: “While Corbyn was speaking there was a large scuffle when someone trying to grab my placard.

It involved about ten people: one person tried to grab my placard, some tried to help him, some tried to separate us, some tried to defend me.

“We ran into the city council building because there we were fearful for our safety. I reported the assault to the police and I have a meeting with them on Sunday.

“I knew there was an issue with antisemitism in Labour – but it was absolutely shocking that shouldn’t happen at a mainstream British political event.”

Sabrina Miller, a second year English Literature student at Bristol, said: “The first instance I saw was someone came up to us and said, ‘You’re all puppets of the Zionist media’ and then stormed off. From then on in, people started yelling abuse at us, people wearing Labour party stickers.”

She said Jewish students were accused of being “Tory operatives”, “selfish for only caring about antisemitism” and told “I bet the Israeli government has paid you to be here”.

At the rally, Corbyn told supporters that the country is “being let down by a Conservative government” that is “failing on housing, failing our children, failing our NHS, failing to create good quality secure jobs and failing even against its own economic targets”.

Students have complained to Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, about their treatment at the event. The Labour Party declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “After yesterday’s rally, the Mayor spoke with the Jewish students who were protesting. He is committed to rooting out antisemitism from our city, party, and society. “Marvin is arranging a meeting at City Hall with them before Christmas to discuss their concerns and what more we can to do end discrimination.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We have received a report of an assault, which was reported to us at 11.33am [on Tuesday]. We’re making enquiries into this incident.”

The spokesman added that officers “spoke to a small group of people” at College Green on Monday regarding “inappropriate behaviour/language they observed. The group were given a warning to desist and there were no further occurrences.”

A Labour Party source said: "If we receive any complaints about anyone who is a party member, these would be fully investigated in the usual way.”