Witchhunt: How the UK Labour Party Suspended a Black Jew for Antisemitism


by Jon Pullman (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is about the corporate media vendetta against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Corbyn was  first elected to head the British Labour Party in 2015. Espousing many of the same socialist and anti-corporate views as Bernie Sanders, Corbyn vastly increased membership in the Labour Party, especially among young people. He has also survived repeated attempts by Blairite Labour members to remove him from the party leadership.

According to his supporters, Britain’s corporate elite are terrified of Corbyn becoming prime minister. They know he will repeal Britain’s anti-union laws and re-nationalize many of the public services that were privatized by the Conservatives and Tony Blair.

The film mainly focuses on the current media effort to portray Corbyn and his supporters as “antisemitic,” based on their longstanding support for Palestinian rights. It takes up the case of longtime Corbyn supporter Jackie Walker, a Black Jewish woman of Jamaican ancestry. Despite her own Jewish heritage, Walker has been suspended twice from the Labour Party for supposedly antisemitic comments she made on Facebook and in a public meeting. In both cases, the corporate media repeatedly misportrayed what she actually said.

The filmmakers play segments from an Al Jazeera investigation into an undercover Israeli intelligence operation to target British pro-Palestinian activists. There is strong evidence these Israeli agents are collaborating with various pro-Zionist groups and a compliant media to perpetuate this witchhunt against Corbyn and his supporters. Their primary goal is to counter growing British support for the BDS movement.*

The film features members of the Jewish Voice for Labour and other Jewish intellectuals who oppose the pro-Zionist’s lobby’s effort to label all criticism of Israeli human rights violations (described as “slow Palestinian genocide”) as antisemitism.

Witchhunt also includes scenes from Walker’s one-woman play called “The Lynching.” The daughter of a Jamaican mother of Jewish decent and an Ashkenazy Jew from Russia, Walker was born in the US, where her mother participated in civil rights struggles in the South. The family was deported owing to her mother’s refusal to testify in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC).

*The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.