Rachel Riley Is Facing Backlash For Erasing Jeremy Corbyn’s Anti-Apartheid Message To Protest Antisemitism In The Labour Party

Critics have accused Riley of pitting one type of racism against another.

Rachel Riley

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Rachel Riley is facing backlash today after she wore a T-shirt that features a photoshopped image of Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-apartheid protest in 1984. The image, which originally showed Corbyn holding a sign reading ‘defend the right to demonstrate against apartheid, join this picket’ was altered to read ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour’.

Riley, who currently appears on Countdown, has been accused of erasing the fight against apartheid in her attempt to protest antisemitism. ‘Fighting antisemitism should not come at the expense of the struggles of other minority groups,’ Rebecca Filer, leader of Jewish Labour tweeted. ‘Erasing one to raise another is not how we fight hate - we do that by uniting and supporting each other.’

In response, Riley said she has ‘no qualms’ using the photo because Nelson Mandela supposedly declined to meet with Corbyn when he was part of anti-apartheid group City of London Anti-Apartheid Group (CLAAG), a claim which has been previously contested.

Riley has been critical of antisemitism in the Labour party since 2018, writing: ‘I don’t endorse Boris, but I do endorse #NeverCorbyn’. Allegations of antisemitism have been made against the Labour party since September 2015, when Corbyn was elected as leader.

Questions about antisemitism were raised during the ITV Leaders Debate this week. Corbyn said ‘antisemitism is an absolute evil and scourge within our society,’ and said offenders had been ‘either suspended or expelled from the party.’ However, Labour Councillor Peter Mason refuted Corbyn's claims, saying that there are currently 130 allegations of antisemitism in the party which are yet to be dealt with.

Commenters also pointed out that pitting racism against antisemitism was creating an erasure of people who are both black and Jewish. Aviah Sarah Day tweeted: 'As someone who is both black and Jewish I’m really hurt that Rachel Riley thinks it’s acceptable to deliberately erase the struggle against apartheid. If she thinks that only the Jewish part of me needs protecting, then she is not an anti-racist.'

Read More:

Jeremy Corbyn And Anti-Semitism: Your Need-To-Know

Antisemitism: Corbyn And The Crisis That Won't Go Away

Boris Johnson Accused Of ‘Threatening’ Behaviour Towards Ex-Wife

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