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.
its fact not opinion https://t.co/dTo6PCZ6Vz
— Diogenes 🇵🇸 🏴 (@NorthernCynic3) May 31, 2019
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:
Wait wait wait. Hold on. How is an Israeli official (presumably embassy worker) allowed to walk in to Labour national conference and offer £1,000,000 to topple some MP’s?
Videoed here is Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour friends of Israel. pic.twitter.com/zqpkfVXJ3G
— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) August 23, 2018
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:
2/2 So it seems clear that .@UKLabour must investigate whether .@PeterWillsman was accurate in his claim. I fear that the party will act true to type, adopt a false interpretation of anti-Semitism and say he's guilty because he has been accused. FAIL. #PoliticsLive #UKPolitics
— Mike Sivier (@MidWalesMike) May 31, 2019
The problem is exactly as former Labour minister Clare Short described it in a BBC interview earlier this week:
“There’s been a widening of the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel,” says Clare Short, former Labour MP cabinet minister who resigned the whip in 2006.
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) May 28, 2019
“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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