The grounds on which the Labour Party wants to accuse people of anti-Semitism are getting more and more shaky.
In this case, one of the accusations against Cllr Karen Sudan is that she has blocked Labour Against Anti-Semitism on Twitter.
This is not an anti-Semitic act. Indeed, as LAAS is represented by extremely dodgy characters, Cllr Sudan should be praised for putting distance between herself and that group. It is the Labour Party that should be ashamed for supporting it.
But then, Labour does have its blinkers on when choosing its allies. It kowtows to the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Israel and other right-wing, pro-Likud Israel, anti-Palestinian organisations (despite its claim that all peoples should have the right to self-determination) and rejects Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewdas and the Jewish Socialists Group.
The second accusation refers to a tweet from August 2018 in which she accuses the mainstream media of being ‘too busy making up and/or exaggerating stories about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party’ to raise an outcry over other forms of racism.
This was just after local elections in which there was a huge increase in media reports claiming anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. This is now common knowledge as research has been carried out and shown it to be true.
Meanwhile the Windrush Scandal had taken place, and August 2018 was the month Boris Johnson published his shockingly racist remarks about burqa-wearing women looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”. Those are just two high-profile examples. I feel sure Cllr Sudan was accurate in her criticism.
The final charge against her relates to a tweet from January, opposing the so-called “Ten Commandments” by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
She was right to do so and then-leadership candidates including Keir Starmer were wrong to sign up to those pledges – several of which involve commitments to break the law, if This Writer’s memory is correct.
Now consider this:
Because of recent changes, the only way Cllr Sudan could defend herself publicly against these claims was to quit the party.
“If I was a member of the Labour Party, I would have to keep quiet about that – and if I spoke about it to anybody I would be suspended.
“They would know I was under investigation but they wouldn’t know why and I wouldn’t be able to discuss it and I wouldn’t be able to defend myself.
“The only way I could do that and stop the gossip and the maligning stuff that would be around it was to resign from the party and put it out there so that people can see how stupid and ridiculous it is.
Of course, quitting the party means the accusations won’t be prosecuted through its disputes/disciplinary system – but it also means she has been forced to quit the party, possibly for political reasons.
The Labour leader of Crawley Borough Council – one of the authorities on which Cllr Sudan sits – denied any suggestion that the accusation against his former colleague came from anybody in the council’s Labour group.
He said it seemed likely that “someone’s been nationally trawling through Labour accounts trying to find any historical Tweets which may well constitute anti-Semitism”.
But his belief that it was somebody at Labour’s London HQ is less believable. It has been suggested that LAAS has been doing exactly what he described – that’s in the leaked Labour report on anti-Semitism investigations.
Perhaps this indicates the veracity of that claim?
And it would certainly tie in with the fact that one of the disputed tweets is a reference to LAAS.
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