It has been public knowledge since 2017 that the Israeli government is behind the baseless accusations of anti-Semitism against prominent members of the Labour Party. Right?
Maybe publications like The Independent think it is newsworthy because Mr Serwotka said it, and it’s a chance to smear another leading figure on the Left.
Mark Serwotka, who leads the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and is a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, told a fringe event at the Trades Union Congress conference that the Jewish state could have “created a story that does not exist” in order to distract attention from “atrocities” he said it has committed.
His comments were condemned by antisemitism campaigners, who said Mr Serwotka should resign over the “despicable” claims.
“In a year when Donald Trump has moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a year when dozens of Palestinians including children were gunned down – unarmed innocent civilians – by the Israeli military, in a year when the Americans are cutting off aid … isn’t it a vile world when, instead of being on the front foot, denouncing these atrocities, demanding an independent and sovereign state for the Palestinian people, we have had a summer of asking ourselves whether leading Labour movement people are in any way antisemitic?”
He added: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ll tell you what – one of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party.”
But he’s right, and we’ve known it since The Lobby, the Al-Jazeera documentary, exposed former Israeli embassy political officer Shai Masot as a conspirator trying to recruit people from UK political organisations to do the bidding of his government.
It seems he was an agent of Israel’s Strategic Affairs ministry, as detailed here.
We understand this organisation distributes its propaganda via its own dedicated app, Act.IL, as you can read here.
You can read about complicity with the Israeli government’s apparent smear campaign by UK organisations in the same articles.
But that’s clearly not enough evidence for Euan Philipps, whose Labour Against Anti-Semitism pressure group was recently exposed as participating in a breach of the Data Protection Act by using a Labour Party mailing list to which it should not have had access.
He reportedly said Mr Serwotka’s speech showed “how deeply embedded antisemitism is within the Labour movement.”
I, for one, would like to see Mr Philipps explain that. Criticism of the actions of the Israeli government is explicitly not anti-Semitic unless anti-Semitic language is employed to do so – and Mr Serwotka did not do so.
Mr Philipps also said the suggestion that the Israeli government stoked Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis was “a baseless lie” – denying the wealth of evidence against that country’s government, some of which I mention above.
Also quoted was a representative of Labour Friends of Israel, whose chair, Joan Ryan MP, recently lost a vote of ‘no confidence’ by her constituency party members after it was revealed that she had fabricated a charge of anti-Semitism against Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporter Jean Fitzpatrick.
Ms Ryan lied about an incident that had been recorded and was broadcast, again by Al-Jazeera, again in The Lobby.
If this is the quality of those trying to shout Mr Serwotka down, the sooner the Labour Party investigates them, the better. Why aren’t party leaders doing it already?
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