Jackie Walker, an anti-racism veteran of Jewish descent, spoke as media coverage of the ongoing anti-Semitism accusations plaguing Britain’s main opposition party has reached fever-pitch levels.
Walker was herself suspended from the Labour party and had her senior position as vice-chair of Momentum taken away after being targeted in a similar campaign.
“I have absolutely no doubt that there is anti-Semitism; it is real, all racism is real, but that is not primarily what this is about,” she told Press TV on Thursday. “This is a witch-hunt and it’s a witch-hunt against Corbyn and the pro-Palestinian left.”
Since being stripped of her post, Walker has formed a new campaign group called “Labour against the Witch-Hunt” which seeks to protect the political left within Labour which is under attack from right-wing members of the party.
The latest escalation against Corbyn began after three pro-Israel Jewish newspapers published a joint headline titled “United We Stand” which targeted Corbyn, claiming he posed a “threat to Jewish life” in the UK.
Since then, the right-wing press has published stories of past pro-Palestine events which Corbyn has attended with other speakers critical of Israel.
The Times newspaper, owned by right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch, published a story about an event from 2010 titled “Never Again, for Anyone: Auschwitz to Gaza,” during which Corbyn shared a platform with a Jewish Holocaust survivor who heavily condemned Israel and Zionism.
Corbyn has since apologised for his appearance at the event following the media backlash.
However, despite the apology the Evening Standard newspaper, run by the former Conservative minister George Osborne, published a front-page labelling Corbyn as “SHAMEFUL.”
Another well-known conservative newspaper, The Telegraph, published a piece which urged all Labour MPs to wear a “yellow star” in protest against Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism accusations, in reference to the yellow stars that German Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis.
When Press TV asked Walker about these media attacks, she said: “This has now been going on for two years. And for two years I have been saying to people - they will not be happy until they get Corbyn and until they make the Labour party the kind of party they want it to be, which fits much more easily with the supporters of Israel.”
Corbyn has been targeted by the mainstream media on numerous occasions in the past.
In 2016 the London School of Economic and Political Science published findings showing that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Corbyn.
Similarly, a study from Loughborough University found that newspapers and broadcasters were more biased against Labour during the 2017 General Election (when Corbyn was leader) than it was in 2015 when Ed Miliband was leader.
Walker condemned the mainstream media for the bias in its coverage of Corbyn: “What’s astonishing is you have got the Establishment media acting like rabid dogs; what is astonishing is that there are so few journalists who appear to want to be critical about what’s happening.”