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The current Labour anti-Semitism row took a new, and frankly astonishing, turn last night after it was revealed that the former Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Lady Valerie Cocks, had launched a ‘remarkable’ ‘anti-Semitic attack’ on pro-Corbyn Momentum Chief, and fellow Jew, Jon Lansman.
Writing on page 21 of the Jewish News magazine on December 7th 2017, Ms Cocks – whom The Guardian have previously described as an “aggressive Israeli zionist“ – wrote about her fellow Jew Jon Lansman saying:
“I ran Labour Friends of Israel for many years. I always clashed with Jon Lansman who I considered our worst enemy during all that time.
Although we now have other enemies like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, in my opinion Lansman is even worse. The Jewish enemies always are”
Remember that time a former chair of @_LFI, Lady Valerie Cocks said of @jonlansman "Although we now have other enemies like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, in my opinion Lansman is even worse. The Jewish enemies always are"… pause for a minute and spot the anti-Semitism. pic.twitter.com/rZsVSxYZXU
— Gary Spedding (@GarySpedding) April 1, 2018
Responding to Ms Cocks’ attack on him, Jon Lansman – the pro-Corbyn founder of Momentum – said on Twitter:
“A quite remarkable attack by a former Director of Labour Friends of Israel, Lady Valerie Cocks: Antisemitic? Judge for yourselves!”
A quite remarkable attack by a former Director of Labour Friends of Israel, Lady Valerie Cocks: Antisemitic? Judge for yourselves! https://t.co/Np6l8YgMIR
— Jon Lansman (@jonlansman) April 1, 2018
Whilst Gary Spedding – the original poster of the quote – later went on to say that he believed the ‘horrendous attack‘ on Mr Lansman by the former Labour Friends of Israel Chair was “designed to silence dissenting Jewish voices on the left.”
Spedding – who works supporting Palestinian human rights, liberation and justice – went on to post a 20-tweet Twitter thread about the latest anti-Semitic incident which also documented his experiences fighting anti-Semitism within the Labour movement – a thread that we wholeheartedly recommend Evolve readers check out:
I’ve been raising concerns about antiSemitism with the Labour Party and there’s something I’m extremely worried about with the disparity between left & right when it comes to the serious issue of fighting anti-Jewish oppression (SHORT THREAD):
— Gary Spedding (@GarySpedding) April 1, 2018
Furthermore, during a session at Limmud – a British-Jewish educational charity – Ms Cocks is also reported to have said that Lansman was the “worst anti-Semitic Jew I’ve ever met“.
Before reportedly also going on to say that “The people in Labour are not only anti-Jewish, they are anti-Christian, and anti-gay. My late husband [the former Labour chief Whip Michael Cocks] would be turning in his grave.“
What Lady Valerie Cocks said to Jon Lansman at Limmud ……. pic.twitter.com/Olz3dI1NhQ
— (((ג'ונתן הופמן))) (@jhoffman1) December 30, 2017
Before his death, Lady Cocks also attacked the late Sir Gerald Kaufman – a former Labour MP and fellow Jew – who routinely called out Israel, describing the country as a ‘rogue State which commits war crimes’.
“Lady Cocks, a redoubtable former director of the Labour Friends of Israel and wife of the former Labour Chief Whip, has been involved in numerous clashes with Mr Kaufman. They are hardly on speaking terms now. She finds his attitude to Israel and to the hard-line Arabs impossible to stomach and fears the harm he might cause as foreign secretary. Committed Labour supporters are said to comfort themselves with the thought that Neil Kinnock – acceptable to the Anglo-Jewish community, who like his Welsh warmth – would not necessarily give the Foreign Office post to Mr Kaufman but would place him in a less exposed department, should Labour win the election.
Mr Kaufman’s claim to be an impartial expert on the Middle East, particularly Israel, was shattered, say Israeli critics, by his book Inside The Promised Land, published in 1986. Such phrases as “the Likud. . . were a collection of opportunists without any discernible principles or programmes” made even dovish left wing Israelis gasp. Even those who vehemently disagreed with Menachem Begin never doubted his sincerity or his firmly held principles. There were similar remarks about Israeli voters and the Sephardim (Oriental Jews) which made impartial observers doubt whether Mr Kaufman had a firm grasp of Israeli reality.”