Labour conference gives standing ovation to Jewish woman who says she has never experienced anti-Semitism within the party and praises Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the most anti-racist leader’ it has ever had despite years of controversy
- Vanessa Stilwell, from south London, made the outburst at the conference today
- She is a self-confessed member of the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)
- Told the audience she had ‘never experienced any anti-Semitism’ in the party
A Labour member who played down the party’s anti-Semitism crisis and praised Jeremy Corbyn as its ‘most anti-racist leader’ ever was given a standing ovation at its party conference today.
Vanessa Stilwell, from south London, made the outburst as she spoke on behalf of ‘our Palestinian bothers and sisters’ at the event in Brighton.
Ms Stilwell, who is a member of the party branch in leafy and affluent Dulwish and West Norwood, is a member of the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), which is at odds with other Jewish groups.
She bemoaned that there were ‘too few’ people in the party prepared to speak up for the Palestinians caught up in the crisis in the Middle East.
But she then wet on to add: ‘I’m a member of Jewish Voice for Labour and one of thousands of Jews in this party who have never experienced any anti-Semitism.
Vanessa Stilwell, from south London, made the outburst as she spoke on behalf of ‘our Palestinian bothers and sisters’ at the event in Brighton
Labour has faced a bruising civil war over claims of anti-Semitism under jeremy Corbyn’s leadership
‘And who support Jeremy Corbyn as the most anti-racist leader this party has ever had.’
The declaration made some members of the audience rise to their feet and applaud, although not all of them.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer was among those who did not applaud her comments.
In May Labour faced one of the most shameful days in its history after a formal inquiry was launched into whether it has victimised Jews.
Ms Stilwell received a standing ovation from some members of the party conference audience after her outburst from the stage
In a potentially explosive intervention, the equalities watchdog said it ‘suspects’ the party has committed ‘unlawful acts’ in its handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.
Only once before has the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a formal inquiry into a political party – and that was the far-Right BNP. The EHRC will investigate whether Mr Corbyn’s party has ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’ – and whether senior staff responded properly to anti-Semitism allegations against its members.
If Labour fails to accept its findings, it could be taken to court and be fined.
Labour rejected claims it was institutionally racist.