Rebecca Long-Bailey has joined the race to be the next leader of the Labour Party, leaving her as the sole true left-wing socialist candidate after Angela Rayner and Ian Lavery decided not to stand.
Announcing her candidature in The Tribune, Long-Bailey stated that the Labour Party “needs a socialist leader who can work with our movement, rebuild our communities and fight for the policies we believe in”, adding that Labour needs a “proud socialist” who is “driven by their principles”.
However, Rebecca Long Bailey’s actions in 2015 and 2019 have left some questioning just how committed to those principles the potential leader actually is.
As the sole socialist candidate in the race, Long-Bailey has already won the plaudits of many of the left of the party, some seemingly living by the idea of “any socialist in a storm” and being willing to ignore and downplay her actions which have left some questioning just how committed to those stated principles the potential leader actually is.
Despite a pledge to “never throw migrants or BAME communities under the bus”, this is exactly what Long-Bailey did when she took a stance against the pro-Palestine movement as part of the “antisemitism crisis” smear campaign, a stance that is close to the heart of not only Palestinians in Britain but Muslim communities at large.
It was at the height of the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing MPs and activists that Rebecca Long-Bailey told the Jewish Labour Movement that Jeremy Corbyn had “lost the trust of the community”, the JLM being one of the chief proponents of the falsehoods that attempted to portray critics of Israeli human rights abuses as antisemites. Long-Bailey declined to answer when JLM told her “the best way to build bridges was for the Labour leader to resign”.
Long-Bailey also played her part in throwing Chris Williamson under the bus, stating that Williamson shouldn’t have been a member of Labour and that she didn’t know why he was still in the party. She also refused to stand in solidarity with The Canary after coming under fire for an interview she gave to the website, smear proponents claiming the website is “antisemitic”.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that in 2015 Long-Bailey addressed a meeting co-hosted by Manchester’s Zionist Central Council and the Jewish Representative Council, the newly elected Salford MP stating her opposition to the BDS movement.
“When asked for her views on BDS, she did not know what this was. It needed to be explained that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was a primary tool used to target Israeli academics, businesses, sports and culture and why this is largely considered to be an antisemitic movement. We were however assured by her comments that she was opposed to such boycotts.”Daniel Berke, chair of the Zionist Central Council
Even more alarmingly, Long-Bailey stated her intent to join Labour Friends of Israel.
“Ms Long Bailey was asked why she had chosen to join Labour Friends of Palestine and not any other groups offering support to any of the many stateless people throughout the World; for example the Rohingya or Chechens. She replied that her first days at Parliament were rather like ‘freshers’ week’ and it seemed a popular organisation to join. She accepted readily that there were clearly two sides and gave a firm ‘promise’ that she would join Labour Friends of Israel so she could better understand the issues and for balance.”Daniel Berke, chair of the Zionist Central Council
There are many positives to be taken from a potential Rebecca Long-Bailey leadership, her commitment to socialism and the Labour manifesto are not in question. However, the signs that Long-Bailey will capitulate to the threats of Labour Friends of Israel, the press and the Blairites are very clear, meaning that any socialist programme will, in the end, be rendered pointless and weakened. The questions surrounding her lack of solidarity and potential weakness of character are alarming and her statements in 2015 and 2019 must now be addressed before any pro-Palestine member of the Labour Party should consider her their candidate.