A Jewish “lifelong socialist” has said she will now campaign for the Conservatives in Barnet due to antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Adele Winston, 75, of High Barnet, said Jeremy Corbyn’s recent refusal to take antisemitism seriously was the final straw for her after her own experience of Jew-hatred in the party.
Mrs Winston said a Chipping Barnet Labour member had repeatedly insisted “all Jews are rich and corrupt” during and after a local party meeting at which she had been present. Despite first joining the Labour in 1967, she said the party’s subsequent dithering caused her to resign her membership.
She said: “Nothing in my life had happened like that before. I’ve lived a very assimilated life so no-one has ever assumed I was Jewish. I thought I was removed from the problem so I was totally flabbergasted by this wretched little woman.
“There was no reaction at all to any of the things she was saying and afterwards the party kept making excuses for not doing anything. I left after that. Most people I know have switched — people who have been socialists all their lives and Jewish. But turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
“I now intend to canvass for the Conservatives, whose record with the Jewish community is unassailable.”
The incident, which took place in November 2015, is not an isolated case. In November 2017 a Finchley & Golders Green Labour member was publicly accused of antisemitism on Twitter after the party had ignored an official complaint about her for four months.
The tweet, accompanied by evidence of extreme antisemitic content, was shared more than 2,000 times and attracted national press coverage. Only after this exposure was she suspended pending an investigation.
Yet last week, 18 members of Finchley & Golders Green Labour wrote to the Barnet Borough Times to dismiss accusations of antisemitism, claiming “the real target of these critics is Jeremy Corbyn”.
Mrs Winston, who describes herself as “a lifelong socialist and trade unionist”, added she did not believe most Labour members were antisemitic — but that they were refusing to confront those who were.
She said: “They are saying what I think many of them would like to believe. It’s very head-in-the-sand. People don’t believe things they can’t face. They want to believe Jeremy Corbyn is an honest man.”