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Members of Joan Ryan’s own Enfield North constituency party have supported a vote of ‘no confidence’ in her.

There could have been no better illustration of the reason the Chair of Labour Friends of Israel lost the confidence of her constituency party members than her vitriolic outburst in response to it.

The decision casts further doubt on the validity of accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members.

Joan Ryan had faked an accusation of anti-Semitism against a Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporter called Jean Fitzpatrick. Speaking to an undercover reporter who she thought was a pro-Israel activist, she claimed the PSC activist had said Labour Friends of Israel was a route to getting a job at a bank in the City.

“You heard her say … ‘join you lot and you get into Oxford’ or ‘you get into working in the bank,’” Ms Ryan said in the resulting documentary, The Lobby. The film shows that Jean Fitzpatrick had said no such thing, but Ms Ryan reported the campaigner to the party’s disciplinary system.

Ms Fitzpatrick, 71, provided a statement to local members on what really happened, attached as an appendix to the motion. She stated that “the strain of the whole case took its toll on me psychologically and emotionally… It would be true to say that it is only in the last year I have begun to recover my health and equilibrium”.

As a Labour member who is going through a much more lengthy experience with Labour’s disciplinary procedure, I can personally confirm its effect on victims’ mental and emotional balance. And I use the word “victims” deliberately.

It has also been revealed that Labour Friends of Israel works “really closely” and “behind the scenes” with the Israeli embassy – including raising accusations of anti-Semitism against other members of the Labour Party.

Ms Ryan has been one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most bitter opponents since he was elected leader of the Labour Party, and the motion cites this long-running campaign as its basis, stating that she has written and contributed to many articles in a “press unjustly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. By doing so our MP has smeared his character.” A constant theme has been baseless allegations of anti-Semitism against the party under Mr Corbyn – made under the direction of the Israeli Embassy?

It has been alleged that Ms Ryan is in contact with an Israeli Embassy agent every day.

And Enfield North constituency party members were angry that Ms Ryan’s 2017 general election campaign was “all but abandoning Labour and sought to publicize herself as an independent in all but name.”

At the time, Ms Ryan sent out letters claiming that “many” local people had told her “they have more confidence in Theresa May as prime minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn.” Despite “your misgivings about the Labour leadership,” she wrote, “I hope that you will consider voting for me as your local MP.”

Yesterday’s constituency party meeting was packed, according to those who attended. But look at the way her supporters tried to intimidate members:

Obviously, voting against a transgressing MP is not anti-Semitic, but the accusation does show how poisonous claims of anti-Semitism have become – that those making such claims are doing so, not to reveal genuine issues, but simply to silence critics.

The meeting itself was decisive:

And how does this representative of the people respond?

“Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left”? What a disgusting way to respond – by disparaging the politics of her fellow members of the UK’s largest political party!

Can you imagine what would happen if any one of those people had responded with some well-known words or claims about people of Jewish ethnicity? The two behaviours are equally abhorrent, are they not?

And she got the reaction she deserved:

With her own constituency party calling for a new candidate to represent them at the next general election, focus now turns to Labour Friends of Israel, which lies at the heart of this matter.

I disagree. Cutting LFI out of the party is not enough because the MPs and party members who support the organisation will remain. Labour needs to investigate every single member of LFI, to ensure that nobody who is willing to work for the Israeli government, rather than the British people, is allowed to continue as a Labour representative.

It is also worth adding that another Labour MP lost a ‘no confidence’ vote:

This was a much more decisive choice, with Mr Shuker losing by a margin of 11 to one.

These are both victories for the movement to increase democratisation of the Labour Party.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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