27 June 2020 — American Herald Tribune
Sacking Corbyn’s heir-apparent for anti-Semitic ‘conspiracy’ only stokes more internal conflict
Sir Keir Starmer, whose scalp has been dangling on the lodge-pole of the Board of Deputies since Day One of his leadership of the Labour Party, has sacked his rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from his front bench for – apparently – indulging in “antisemitic conspiracy theories”.
According to The Independent the row began when Ms Long-Bailey praised an interview with the actress Maxine Peake in which she stated that US police responsible for the death of George Floyd had learned tactics from the Israeli security forces. Ms Peake later accepted the claim was “inaccurate”. Long-Bailey tweeted that Peake was “a diamond”, and added that her comment “wasn’t intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article”. She was ordered by the leadership to take down her twitterings but refused until she’d had a chance to discuss the matter with Starmer. But the knife was already plunged and Starmer administered the coup de grace without further niceties.
He said: “The sharing of that article was wrong, because the article contained antisemitic conspiracy theories. I have therefore stood Rebecca Long-Bailey down from the shadow cabinet. I’ve made it my first priority to tackle antisemitism and rebuilding trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority for me.”
His top priority should, of course, be getting the UK out of its mess and devoting all energies to that end. But Starmer had already sold his soul to the Zionist lobby. On the same day he assumed the leadership he wrote to the Board of Deputies of British Jews promising to “tear out this poison [anti-Semitism] by its roots”. The BoD’s president Marie van der Zyl triumphantly displays Starmer’s servile missive like a trophy scalp on the BoD’s tepee. She was equally gushing in her appreciation of Starmer’s harsh dismissal of Long-Bailey. “As soon as we saw that Rebecca Long-Bailey had shared this we wrote to her detailing how this conspiracy theory is false and requesting she delete her tweet and issue an apology. Rebecca Long-Bailey’s response is frankly pathetic. As someone who aspires to be the next Education Secretary, we would expect her to read and understand materials before sharing them.”
So what are these “antisemitic conspiracy theories” Starmer and van der Zyl talk about? Starmer, in the interests of sound leadership, might have avoided hasty action and first checked with AmnestyUSA. As far back as 2016 they were reporting:
“Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Israeli officials here in the U.S.
“Many of these trips are taxpayer funded while others are privately funded. Since 2002, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have paid for police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains to train in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
“These trainings put Baltimore police and other U.S. law enforcement employees in the hands of military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years. Amnesty International, other human rights organizations and even the U.S. Department of State have cited Israeli police for carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, using ill treatment and torture (even against children), suppression of freedom of expression/association including through government surveillance, and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”
And Starmer’s minders surely saw a recent report on the police killing of George Floyd in the Morning Star saying that
“at least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the second time such an event had been held. There they learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations.”
According to the Morning Star “a Palestinian rights activist said that when she saw the image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, she was reminded of the Israeli forces’ policing of the occupied territories. Neta Golan, the co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said: ‘When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee as he cried for help and other cops watched, I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique of leaning in on our chest and necks when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.’”
Are these reports wrong? Perhaps our American readers can please vouch for the truth or otherwise…. Then we’ll know who should be making apologies – Starmer, van der Zyl, or Long-Bailey.
Such was Starmer’s eagerness in the run-up to the leadership election to serve the Zionist agenda that van der Zyl expressed great pleasure that he and all the other Labour Party leadership contenders, including Long-Bailey, had embraced the Ten Pledges on anti-Semitism. “Now they must act to rid the party of the awful disease of anti-Jewish racism,” she said.
The Ten Pledges that Starmer and the others obediently subscribe to include:
- Adopting the international definition of antisemitism without qualification – “The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.”
- Delivering an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community – “The Jewish Labour Movement should be re-engaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.”
- Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups – “Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.”
But many find these pledges objectionable for the simple reasons that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is deeply flawed and has been condemned by leading law experts who warn that it conflicts with the right of free expression, which is part of UK domestic law, and any public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such freedoms “would be acting unlawfully”. Besides, the whole idea falls foul of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As a former human rights lawyer Starmer ought to know all this. And as a former Director of Public Prosecutions and former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, you’d think he would pause and more carefully weigh the evidence before sacking someone in a key post like Long-Bailey.
The Ten Pledges’ insistence that the Jewish Labour Movement trains Labour members is laughable, as is demanding the BoD and its friends be the only communication channel with the Jewish community. The Labour Party of course is at liberty to speak to any Jewish group it wishes and should do so.
Starmer’s pro-Israel stance is perhaps explained by a Times of Israel report that he told Jewish News: “I support Zionism without qualification…”
Long-Bailey’s sacking was seen by her allies as an over-reaction and many say there’s a need to speak out against Israel as it prepares to annex more of the West Bank. So it will be interesting to see which way Starmer jumps if Netanyahu and his terror regime really do carry out their threat to permanently seize more swathes of the Palestinian territories they illegally occupy.
*(Top image: Rebecca Long-Bailey in Corbyn’s Manchester rally, 7th November 2019. Credit: Jeremy Corbyn/ Flickr)