Margaret Hodge faces online backlash over Corbyn clash comparison
The former Labour minister likened a Labour Party disciplinary investigation into her conduct to the persecution faced by Jews in Nazi Germany.
Dame Margaret Hodge is facing an online backlash over her latest comments in Labour’s anti-Semitism row.
The former Labour minister likened a Labour Party disciplinary investigation into her conduct to the persecution faced by Jews in Nazi Germany, saying she felt “as if they were coming for me”.
Speaking to Sky News, Dame Margaret said the investigation into her confrontation with leader Jeremy Corbyn about his handing of anti-Semitism criticism left her “thinking what did it feel like to be a Jew in Germany in the Thirties” with a “feeling of fear?”.
‘The only way Jeremy Corbyn can put this issue to bed is to prove everybody wrong and take the action we are all urging him to take. That is he should adopt the internationally agreed definition of anti-semitism in full.— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) August 13, 2018
Her comments provoked a furious backlash online, with some Labour members denouncing the veteran MP for what they claimed was her over-reaction, united under a #hodgecomparisons hashtag on Twitter.
This included shadow minister Laura Pidcock’s chief of staff Ben Sellers, who sent two tweets that were later deleted comparing Dame Margaret’s example to getting locked in a toilet and queuing for a pie.
He tweeted: “Just last week I was on the crapper when I realised the lock had jammed on the door. It took the intervention of my wife on the other side to release me.
“When I walked free, I felt just like Mandela must have done when we was released from Robben Island in 1990.”
Mr Sellers added: “The other day I had to queue for a good five minutes for a poor-quality mince pie and a Bovril at a local non-league ground.
“It was a bit like being rounded up by Pinochet’s forces and getting a bullet through the temple in Chile’s national stadium back in ‘73.”
The holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened because ordinary people turned a blind eye to racism & antisemitism; scapegoated & dehumanised a community, stifled free thinking & refused to challenge the cult of an idol. Jewish people know how it starts. #hodgecomparison— Anna Turley MP (@annaturley) August 17, 2018
But Labour MP Anna Turley decried the hashtag and defended Dame Margaret in the thread.
“The holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum,” she tweeted. “It happened because ordinary people turned a blind eye to racism & anti-Semitism; scapegoated & dehumanised a community, stifled free thinking & refused to challenge the cult of an idol. Jewish people know how it starts.”
Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock also questioned the motives of those making light of Dame Margaret’s fears.
She tweeted: “Rather than question the motive of those highlighting the problem, how about questioning the motives of those who defend the indefensible.
“I will not be told how this should be resolved by the man who referred to complaints of anti-Semitism as ‘mood music’.”
Reading #HodgeComparisons has again highlighted how sections of the Labour Party Left online have descended into a sewer of unkind, un-gentle, un-empathetic, and nasty form of politics. Not how I was taught to engage in political debate.— Emily Benn (@Emily_Benn) August 17, 2018
This is not the Labour Party I grew up in
Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman Gideon Falter said the Labour party leadership had questions to answer about a lack of action for alleged anti-Semitism against Peter Willsman and Jackie Walker
Mr Falter said: “If the Labour Party wishes to criticise Dame Margaret Hodge then it had better first answer some questions.
“There are so many example of the Labour Party taking no action or slow action against Mr Corbyn’s allies, but it took them mere hours to throw the book at Dame Margaret and Ian Austin simply for standing up against anti-Semitism in their party.
“Dame Margaret was absolutely right to express the feelings evoked by her treatment by the party’s authorities.”