Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Joan Ryan, and Chuka Umunna, of the new Independent Group in Parliament, all split from the Labour Party claiming dissatisfaction with its handling of allegations of anti-Semitism.
They have all also been members of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), as is Pat McFadden, who is said to be expected to join the group in the near future.
And long-standing LFI supporter Tom Watson was quick to issue an ultimatum to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, demanding a stronger response to allegations of anti-Semitism – or more Labour MPs will leave.
LFI works within the Labour Party to promote the state of Israel; fighting anti-Semitism is not one of its express intentions. It is the policies and philosophy of the Israeli government – whatever they may be – that LFI exists to support.
Jeremy Corbyn is a known critic of the current government of Israel – and his views have wide support at a time when there is a wealth of evidence showing that government persecuting the people of Palestine, stealing their land, shooting and bombing their children, and starving them of services and supplies.
We have documentary evidence of LFI chair (and now Independent Group member) Joan Ryan being offered £1 million by then-Israeli embassy officer Shai Masot; the money was to be used to send Labour MPs on trips to Israel, to enjoy that government’s hospitality. At the same time it was revealed that Ms Ryan smeared a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as an anti-Semite; video evidence conclusively proved that she was lying.
The Independent Group organises itself as a limited company, which means there is no legal way to compel its members to reveal who is funding them.
When I wrote an article asking whether Mr Masot’s claim to have people working for him – in LFI, the Jewish Labour Movement and other Labour-related organisations – would be investigated, I was smeared as an anti-Semite, suspended as a Labour Party member, and eventually expelled. To the best of my knowledge, no such investigation has taken place by the time of writing, two years after I asked the question.
The proportion of anti-Semitism known to have happened in the Labour Party since Mr Corbyn became leader is calculated to have involved less than 0.1 per cent of party members. Considering the behaviour of Angela Smith on television immediately after the formation of The Independent Group, it is likely that the amount of racism in general within Labour has fallen because of these MPs’ departure.
Put it all together and it is worth asking the question:
Is it really anti-Semitism that these MPs are fighting – or opposition to an oppressive, apartheid foreign government?
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