Full synopsis: In 2015, while the far right was gaining ground around the world, socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the UK Labour Party in a landslide victory. Accusations of antisemitism within the party immediately began to circulate. Wellknown anti-racists and left-wing Jews, such as Jackie Walker, were amongst the chief targets. WitchHunt sets out to investigate the stories and the people behind the headlines, examining the nature of the accusations. Is this a witch hunt, as some claim? If so, who is behind it, and what is the political purpose of such a campaign? Has the media failed in its duty to fairness and accuracy in reporting on such serious allegations? Through a series of interviews, analysis and witness testimony, WitchHunt explores the connections between the attacks on Labour, the ongoing tragedy of Palestine and the wider struggle against race-based oppression. It argues that, if it is to mean anything at all, the fight against racism must be a shared one, that includes all peoples
Praise for WitchHunt: “Anyone who speaks or writes in the public domain about antisemitism and the current state of the Labour Party has a duty to see this film and address the issues it raises.” Avi Shlaim, historian “This impeccably-executed film exposes with chilling accuracy the terrifying threat that now confronts democracy, and the depressing intractability of the IsraelPalestine situation.” Mike Leigh (Peterloo, Mr Turner) “The case of Jackie Walker is important. This film asks whether her lengthy suspension from the Labour Party and attempts to expel her are fair, or an injustice which should be challenged. She is not the only one in this position. See the film and make up your own mind” Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake) “(WitchHunt) packs a powerful punch, telling a story we just aren’t hearing at the moment.” Peter Kosminsky (Wolf Hall, The Promise) Press reviews: “WitchHunt is a vital corrective to what’s been a mostly shallow and poorly informed debate that’s done much to undermine the British public’s understanding of antisemitism.” Robert Cohen, Mondoweiss, March 3, 2019
In the film: Professor Lewis Gordon Afro-Jewish American philosopher and author working on areas including theories of race and racism, philosophies of liberation and Africana philosophy. Gordon currently teaches at the University of Conneticut, USA, and is Honorary Professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is a member of Kehilat Chaverim in Connecticut, USA, and Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Illinois, USA. Salma Karmi-Ayyoub Criminal barrister and external consultant for the Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq. She acquired a post-graduate degree in law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007. Paul Kelemen Academic and author of The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce, Kelemen taught at the University of Dar es Salaam and was closely involved in solidarity campaigns and development work in relation to the Horn of Africa. He is on the board of trustees of the Ahamad Iqbal Race Relations Resource Centre. Leah Levane Co-chair of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and Labour Councillor in Hastings, Levane studied comparative politics at Cardiff University. She has worked mainly in the community development field, particularly in South London, working with local communities to tackle racism and divisions. Emeritus Professor Moshé Machover Mathematician, philosopher, and socialist activist, noted for his writings on Zionism. Born to a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, Machover was a founder of Matzpen, the Israeli Socialist Organisation. In 1968 he moved to Britain where he became a naturalised citizen, later gaining his professorship at Kings College, London. Justin Schlosberg Senior lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, specialising in the relationship between media, power and democracy. Schlosberg helped establish the Media Reform Coalition, which seeks a more just, accountable and democratic media. Its recent report, published in September 2018, is Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm. Mark Thomas Comedian, presenter, political satirist and journalist from south London. He first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience. His show Check Up – Our NHS @70 is currently touring UK theatres. Jackie Walker Jackie Walker is a black, Jewish activist. She has been a teacher, education advisor on Equalities and Development Education and a community organiser. She has lectured and spoken across the UK and further afield. As vice chair of her local Labour Party in South Thanet she was a leading figure in the campaign to defeat UKIP’s Nigel Farage in the 2015 general election. Jackie campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to become Labour Party leader and was vice chair of Momentum. Her award-winning family memoir, Pilgrim State, is on many university syllabuses, and her one woman show The Lynching has toured in the UK and overseas.
Film team: Jon Pullman, director Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, executive producer Director’s biography: Jon Pullman is an activist and filmmaker with a particular interest in the Middle East, where he has travelled widely. He has produced several short documentaries on Palestine, including Children in Chains, about child prisoners under Israeli military occupation. WitchHunt is Pullman’s first feature-length documentary. Images and promotional materials: Film website: witchhuntfilm.org Trailer: https://youtu.be/32sarO26Kvg Preview screener: available on request Promotional materials are available on request, and also uploaded here: https://witchhuntfilm.org/resources/ For further information please contact: Witchhuntfilm1@gmail.com