Willsman suspended – again. But his alleged claims are entirely reasonable

Peter Willsman: Clearly he has enemies who want him discredited – and they aren’t above ignoring Labour Party rules to achieve this.

Peter Willsman, a left-wing member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, has had his party membership suspended – again – over comments that some are claiming to be anti-Semitic.

It seems clear that these claims are false and it will be informative to watch the way Labour deals with this case.

Mr Willsman’s party membership was previously suspended after allegations last year, but was restored to his position after he made an apology. Many believe he should have stuck to his guns as he had done nothing wrong.

The current allegation arises from a recording of an “off-the-record” conversation with an author, in which Mr Willsman allegedly said he believed the Israeli embassy was coordinating antisemitism accusations against the Labour Party.

The first thing that occurs to This Writer is that “off-the-record” means exactly that; comments made in such circumstances are not intended to be attributed to their source and it is the height of unprofessionalism to name the source of an “off-the-record” comment. I would like to know the name of the person who supplied the recording to LBC, in order for this person to be blackballed by the British Establishment. They cannot be trusted.

Secondly – and far more importantly – is the fact that Mr Willsman said nothing anti-Semitic, even though this is the apparent reason for his suspension.

It is known that at least one Israeli embassy operative very definitely conspired with at least one UK civil servant in order to “take down” then-Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Shai Masot was forced to return to Israel after the revelations by Al Jazeera.

But here’s a thing: Part of the accusation against Mr Willsman is that he said a Labour member was “working indirectly” for the Israeli embassy. This is believed to refer to Joan Ryan, who was a Labour MP at the time the recording was made (she has since switched to Change UK) and also chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

There is evidence in support of this claim.

Here’s a video of Ms Ryan being offered a vast amount of money to carry out work for the Israeli government – by the same Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot:

Clearly there is evidence to support Mr Willsman’s concerns, as expressed on the recording.

But what will Labour do? Here’s what I think should happen – and what I fear will happen:

The problem is exactly as former Labour minister Clare Short described it in a BBC interview earlier this week:

“There has been a widening of the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.”

This contradicts the definition and examples of anti-Semitism laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which the Labour Party adopted last year.

Israel-supporting members of Labour campaigned hotly for the party to adopt this definition – and the examples accompanying it – in full after the party initially adopted its own (better) definition.

Watch them now as they ignore it completely.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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9 thoughts on “Willsman suspended – again. But his alleged claims are entirely reasonable

  1. Tony Dean

    Personally I am glad at last someone has spoken out.
    Where Netanyahu’s £1 million “bung” to discredit Corbyn has gone and who it was paid to need an official investigation.

  2. SteveH

    Having just listened to Lord Faulkner conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism I think we should count ourselves lucky that the EHRC is now doing the investigation into A/S instead of Faulkner.
    ‘Full’ recording of Willsman is at 13:07hrs followed by a BBC News report on this and Faulkner starts at 13:11hrs

  3. Gary

    I saw the video as broadcast by the BBC today. They then went on to say, in later broadcasts, that he “had made anti-Semitic remarks” Now I only say the part of the video that was broadcast so I can’t comment on what else he said, but you’d think it would be the MOST INCRIMINATING parts that would be shown (unless this is some kind of straw man to bring out anyone defending him?)

    So what IS anti-Semitism. He seems to be of the opinion (although didn’t say it outright) that anti-Semitism is NOT “Widespread and severe” which, to me does NOT sound like an anti semitic remark. You can disagree with him on whether he is correct but still. He also said that he thought that is was highly likely that the Israeli Embassy was behind publicising and organising stories on anti Semitism in the Labour Party. And, given the videos is your article this doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch of the imagination. The party has supported Palestine’s bid for statehood since before Corbyn’s leadership (just before, I think?) and he has been beset by these allegations ever since. Again, it is possible that he is wrong but the remark itself is NOT anti-Semitic. He is criticising a sovereign government that he thinks is trying to deliberately smear his party.

    So, unless the definition of anti Semitism has changed dramatically, he is NOT guilty of it. There is nothing in the interview (which I saw anyway) which either confirms or denies him to be anti Jewish. I don’t know him and have never discussed anything of the like with him obviously, this does not add to our knowledge of whether he is anti semitic or not.

    However, this HAS been successful in damaging the party and him personally.

    Worse though, it damages what we are free to talk about and discuss. SOMEONE has successfully made sure we can’t criticise Israel for fear of being thought anti Jewish. As someone who believes in the right to speak freely about the politics of other nations I think we have now lost in more ways than one. If they cannot be criticised they cannot be stopped. Who will call them out for the ‘Deposit Law’ and the ‘Nation State Law’ now? No one, apparently…

  4. Iain

    The IHRA definition specifically states –

    “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”.

    This means that Criticism of the Israeli states UK Embassy’s behavior is not Antisemic!

    1. SteveH

      I agree with you but unfortunately there is a que of Labour’ politicians who seem to be more than anxious to indulge in a bit of anti-Semitism ‘virtue signalling’ whilst pre-judging the outcome of Willsman’s case.

      Falkner professes to support Corbyn, if this is so then why has he been all over the news programs talking nonsense about this case and A/S in the Labour Party.

      How credible is anything Faulkner says, he was the AG who ruled that the Iraq war was legal.

  5. Tony

    The powerful are often outraged when somebody says something that challenges them even when they have evidence.

    Some years ago, there was massive outrage from some quarters when The History Channel broadcast a programme which put forward the idea that Vice President Johnson ordered the assassination of President Kennedy.

    But there is absolutely no shortage of evidence for this.


  6. Dan

    I suppose if the council fined the Israeli embassy for putting their bins out on the wrong day that would be antisemitic too? Mind you it’s probably a Tory council and so exempt…

Comments are closed.