Antisemitism in the British Left – Joan Ryan and David Hirsh

Joan Ryan and David Hirsh spoke of their experience with antisemitism in the British Labour party to an AIJAC webinar on 29 June 2020.

Joan Ryan served as a Labour member of parliament in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2010 and again from 2015 to 2019. She previously held the positions of vice-chair of the UK Labour Party, vice president of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group and chair of the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Ryan was an outspoken critic of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was accused of failing to deal with antisemitism within his own party. She quit the UK Labour Party in February 2019 and joined the Independent Group citing the “huge shame” of antisemitism. She said Corbyn was “presiding over a culture of antisemitism and hatred of Israel”.

David Hirsh is an academic in the sociology department at Goldsmiths University, London. He is also the author of the book Contemporary Left Antisemitism which was published in 2017 and is available to purchase here. Hirsh also resigned his membership of the UK Labour Party in February 2019. He has had many articles published, including on the relationship between Labour’s antisemitism and populism, resistance within Labour to adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and the link between misogyny and antisemitism within UK Labour.