• Michael Laxer

Broadbent Institute Executive Director fires twitter broadside at Corbyn, Ashton and Robinson


Rick Smith, Jeremy Corbyn and Niki Ashton


Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith took some time out from his schedule today to launch a Twitter attack on an event featuring former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and NDP MP Niki Ashton that had been tweeted by former NDP MP Svend Robinson.


The online forum on March 20 features Corbyn and Ashton "live in conversation as they discuss how can we build a strong progressive politics".


Smith took exception to Robinson tweeting about it by saying that there had been found to be "serial "unlawful acts" of antisemitism" under Corbyn's leadership. This stance is in line with the politically motivated accusations of the right wing of the Labour Party, the right wing British media and the British right in general that Corbyn failed to confront antisemitism in the party.


The antisemitism accusation was used as a hammer to undermine the leftist Corbyn both during the election and all through his tenure as leader. It was also used to oust him from the parliamentary Labour Party caucus by the new leader Keir Starmer. Starmer has shifted the party dramatically to the right after claiming he would be a unity candidate during the leadership race he won in 2020.


In the lead up to the 2019 UK election the late leftist academic Leo Panitch wrote of the charge that:


The vilification of the leader of the U.K. Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, as an anti-Semite has intensified in the run up to the Dec. 12 election in Britain. What makes this especially troubling, not to say bizarre, is that since he first became a member of parliament in 1983 Corbyn has been the most consistent campaigner against all forms of racism.

He went on to say:


Indeed, there is no way that the anti-Semitic charge can be made any sense of except as a means of deflecting Corbyn’s support of Palestinian rights against actions by Israeli governments. The smear campaign has mainly involved pointing to intemperate language of others who spoke beside Corbyn at meetings about this over the decades. Scraping the barrel for anything he said himself, one comment Corbyn made about pro-Israeli government hecklers at one meeting not getting his “English irony” has been highlighted.

After Smith's broadside, while there were those who defended the attack, many on Twitter responded in defense of Corbyn and the event.






It would seem that the Broadbent Institute and its Executive Director are making it clear what side they are on in the ongoing ideological fight within the Labour Party in the UK as well as in regards to how the charge of antisemitism was leveled against Corbyn.


Update March 3: After this was posted one of the original tweets that pointed out the corporate sponsorship that the Broadbent Institute receives was removed or deleted from Twitter and thus no longer appears in this piece.


Here is an image of the sponsors on the institute's 2019 Progress Summit that shows the companies like Loblaw, Facebook and Air Canada that were sponsors.