Ex Labour MP on antisemitism: I’m at AIPAC “to remind you how quickly things can change”
A British MP who recently quit the Labour Party over sickening levels of antisemitism delivered a powerful warning at AIPAC about the consequences of allowing antisemitism to creep into the political mainstream, as she urged Democrats and Republicans to stand united against anti-Jewish hate.
Explaining her decision to speak at this year’s AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., Joan Ryan said: “I did to remind you how quickly things can change. To remind you that we must stay on guard and to remind you we must stand our ground.
“We must condemn antisemitism and anti-Zionism unequivocally wherever we find it, whenever we find it.”
Ryan noted that she and several other colleagues who walked away from the Labour Party would “never have believed three years ago” how the organization was now “riddled with antisemitism.”
She observed how “over the past four years Labour of which I’ve been a member for 40 years has been transformed. Once a close friend of Israel and an unwavering ally of British Jews it has been taken over by the far-left.
“It seeks to demonise and delegitimise Israel. And now it’s led by a man who proudly declares Hames and Hezbollah to be his friends.”
Ryan, whose remarks were greeted by warm applause from the 18,000 conference participants, urged the audience to condemn antisemitism and anti-Zionism “unequivocally” whenever and wherever it is found.
In an apparent reference to controversial congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D – Minn.), who has been repeatedly chastised by lawmakers from both parties for using antisemitic language, Ryan said, “We must always call out politicians, from whatever side of the aisle, who question Israel’s right to exist, and engage in vile antisemitic tropes about the loyalties of British or American Jews to their countries.”
Ryan concluded, “Let’s stand together — proud of each other and proud of Israel in the battles that lie ahead.”
The lawmaker delivered her powerful speech a year after more than 2,000 people gathered outside parliament for an unprecedented demonstration against antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Writing in The Tower at the time, The Israel Project Senior Fellow Julie Lenarz observed: “His [Corbyn’s] anti-Western, and by extent, anti-Israel ideology is deeply rooted in his political DNA and has created a personality cult around him in which antisemitism can flourish unabated.”
“Labour is fighting for its existential identity: either it is a place for British Jews or the home of antisemites.”