Tom Watson again brings the Labour Party into disrepute and fails to carry out due process before engaging in a public attack on a Labour official who is taking sick leave while undergoing chemotherapy.
Many Labour members are embarrassed and disgusted in Tom Watson behaviour his quick to condemn attitude without due process as once again brought the Labour Party into disrepute. Preliminary investigations into the Panorama program, “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” would have exposed deep concerns into the factual bases and the evidence that appeared to be nothing but hearsay brought into question. Evidence given by disreputable characters who have been found previously to fabricate false allegations of anti-Semitism like in the case of
But openly air his naive accusations in the national media whilst attacking the General secretary who traducing her reputation and publicly attacking her when he knows she is undergoing chemotherapy and is unable to respond in the media, is another example of the inappropriate way in which Watson chooses to discuss this issue.
Only sunlight can disinfect Labour of antisemitism now.
We say to Watson if your bringing it into the sunlight, shine that light on all aspects of this dark moment in the history of the Labour Party, including Labour Friends of Israel and the accusations of Israeli agents trying to ‘take down’ the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
The only why to stop a conspiracy is to bring the facts into the light.
If the Labour Party and its members are to come out of the dark shadow cast by accusations of anti-Semitism then a full independent investigation would be needed to clear the issue but that investigation must include the accusations of anti-Semitism being used as a weapon by foreign agents and other parties who are trying to stop the Corbyn project.
Has long as prominent Jewish free thinkers’ historians and former ministers accuse parties of using anti-Semitism as a weapon then people will always feel justified in expressing this however to expressed this as now become anti-semitic despite all the evidence shown in the investigations carried out into ‘the Lobby’.
A must watch video showing Alex Richardson in Panorama’s program, “Is Labour Anti-Semitic? The same Alex Richardson featured in the Lobby fabricating false anti-semitic claims
One of the young whistleblowers speaking “as a Jew in the Labour Party” was Alex Richardson – a member of the JLM executive.
The BBC did not name him, but I – and many others on social media – recognised him because he was a key figure exposed in Al Jazeera’s 2017 undercover documentary, The Lobby.
Richardson was personally involved in fabrication of antisemitism.
Labour calls for parliamentary investigation into Israeli official’s threat to ‘take down’ critical British minister
In 2017 Labour called on an influential committee of MPs to investigate an Israeli official’s threat to “take down” a critical British minister – after the Government refused to.
Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, suggested the Foreign Affairs Select Committee should probe the “extremely disturbing” affair.
“It is simply not good enough for the Foreign Office to say the matter is closed. This is a national security issue,” she said.
The controversy erupted when the Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot, was recorded talking to Conservative MP Robert Halfon’s former chief of staff, Maria Strizzolo, at an upmarket restaurant in Kensington.
During the conversation between the pair, revealed on Sunday, Mr Masot said: “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?”
In response, Ms Strizzolo appeared to laugh, before responding: “Well you know, if you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide.”
She added: “The exposure of the Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot, discussing how to bring down or discredit a government minister and other MPs because of their views on the Middle East is extremely disturbing.
“Improper interference in our democratic politics by other states is unacceptable whichever country is involved.
“This is a national security issue and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should immediately launch an inquiry into the extent of improper influence, and I shall be writing to Boris Johnson to that effect.
However, Foreign Secretary at the time Boris Johnson rejected calls for any further disciplinary action, considering the matter “closed”.
Shai Masot Israeli embassy official at the centre of alleged plots to “influence” British student movements, lobbying groups and politicians has resigned his post.
Officials said Shai Masot would have no further contact with the Ministry for Strategic Affairs in Israel.
“We consider that this scandal is now done and behind us,” a spokesperson for the foreign ministry told Middle East Eye.
We must be honest this does not reflect on any or even part on Jewish members of the Labour Party and just like any other groups of people none are wholly good and none are wholly bad and in solidarity we will work through this together.
A political weapon?
Of course, antisemitism is a serious problem. But a report by an influential parliamentary committee stated that “the majority of anti-Semitic abuse and crime” comes from the far right. And that there is “no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.” These admissions seem at odds with the corporate media coverage of the Labour Party under Corbyn.
Jennies no Wallflower
Labour’s General Secretary has hit back at Tom Watson as the row over the BBC’s Panorama programme on anti-Semitism within the party continues to escalate.
In a scathing letter Jennie Formby accused Mr Watson of “denigrating” progress made within the party in tackling the problem.
She said to him:
By choosing to ignore the steps taken by this party, and commenting so uncritically about the Panorama programme, you are complicit in creating a perception that antisemitism is more prevalent in the Labour Party than wider society.
The BBC Panorama documentary last night saw eight former party staff say they were undermined in their attempts to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.
Former officials ‘alleged’ that Labour’s director of communications, Seumas Milne, and its general secretary, Jennie Formby, interfered with investigations.
Four of those who spoke out, including former Labour general secretary Iain McNicol, broke non-disclosure agreements to do so.
Ms Formby who is on leave from her role while she receives treatment for cancer, said Mr Watson’s public letter to her was “inappropriate”.
Furthermore, traducing my reputation and publicly attacking me when you know I am undergoing chemotherapy and am unable to respond in the media, is another example of the inappropriate way in which you choose to discuss this issue.
Tom Watson MP
Delivery via email
11 July 2019
Thank you for writing to me. It is important that members are given some balance to your letter, so I am publishing my reply.
I am very disappointed at the way you choose to address this extremely sensitive and difficult issue. The Party has at all levels consistently shown that it recognises the vital importance of combating antisemitism, yet you consistently abuse your considerable platform to denigrate any progress that has been made, and any individual that is involved in that. Furthermore, traducing my reputation and publicly attacking me when you know I am undergoing chemotherapy and am unable to respond in the media, is another example of the inappropriate way in which you choose to discuss this issue.
Antisemitism and the consequences of that form of racism is extremely serious, as history has shown us. The Labour Party has taken significant steps to strive for the most robust complaints system of any political party when dealing with accusations of oppressive behaviours. These steps have been detailed publicly, and we have been open and honest about the need to continuously improve systems to deal with any abhorrent views members may hold – which, as you will know, are held by a small minority of the overall membership.
I know it is a real problem in the Labour Party. Like you I have seen it first hand. But we must deal with the facts. Antisemitism-related cases that have been taken through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 relate to roughly 0.06% of the Party’s average membership during this time. Since I started as General Secretary, the speed of processing of antisemitism cases has increased by more than four-fold.
By choosing to ignore the steps taken by this party, and commenting so uncritically about the Panorama programme, you are complicit in creating a perception that antisemitism is more prevalent in the Labour Party than wider society. This is deeply irresponsible for the deputy leader of a party which seeks to be in Government, and risks exacerbating the fear that Jewish communities will feel. I did watch the Panorama programme, and I was very concerned to hear for the first time the distress suffered by some of our former staff members. To be clear we were not made aware of these issues at the time.
All employees of the Labour Party have access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which is widely advertised throughout the organisation. Their role is to provide a confidential support service to employees on a range of personal and work issues and their details are shared with employees to ensure they have support in place. They can provide a range of support including counselling. As an organisation we have a duty of care to employees. We have highlighted the importance of leaders and managers in talking to their teams to offer support through team meetings and 121s. If managers have specific concerns one of the HR team can help signpost more specific help or work with managers on what could be done as a team. If managers have specific concerns about an individual they can speak to a member of the HR team.
We will also be working on a campaign to help break the stigma of mental health in the workplace and will be working jointly with the trade unions to deliver this.
As well as staff accounts, hearing the testimonies from Jewish members of our party was distressing. We must continue working to ensure that our party is always a safe and welcoming space for Jewish people.
You also say in your letter that I have ‘withheld’ the EHRC response from you. You know that this is not the case. I wrote to you twice and offered to meet with you to provide you with the Party’s response to the EHRC.
I also updated the Shadow Cabinet on the EHRC and wider antisemitism issues on Tuesday. Given your considerable public concern around this issue, I am confused as to why you did not raise a single issue or question while at that meeting.
You also suggest in your letter that I deleted emails relating to cases of antisemitism. This is not the case. Labour email addresses are copied into the particular email chain so the emails are fully searchable through our internal subject request searches. Therefore nothing is destroyed or hidden.
These emails do not discuss any member’s data, so it would not amount to any kind of data breach.
It is the case that my Labour address was compromised for a short time after I began as General Secretary. Given that my inbox was accessed and its contents were leaked, I was clearly right to have concerns.
I agree with your point that this is a collective responsibility, and it is one I share with the NEC, the governing body of the Party. As I have repeatedly stated, the authority to share the document or not lies with the NEC. It has ruled that copies of the EHRC submission, a confidential document, are not shared more widely than already agreed.
Finally, I must also ask you once again to consider the impact that your actions are having on our staff in the Governance and Legal team. They have been working incredibly hard to clear all complaints, not just those of antisemitism, including the considerable backlog that had built up from 2016. For them to be brought into the public eye with no opportunity to respond or defend themselves must be extremely difficult.
Since taking on the role as General Secretary I have been unremittingly clear that the welfare of our staff is extremely important, and I would ask you to respect both the contribution that they make, and to recognise that they are unable to rebut or respond to any criticism you make in the public domain.
Tom Watson shows his support for Israel and LFI by Singing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ to the Labour Friends of Israel
Labour Heartlands supplement:
The Electronic Intifada is an online Chicago-based publication covering the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It describes itself as not-for-profit and independent, providing a Palestinian perspective. Wikipedia
The Electronic Intifada has reported in detail for the past four years, the JLM has been one of the main groups promoting and manufacturing the false “Labour anti-Semitism” crisis all along.
The BBC heavily trailed details from Wednesday night’s Panorama program, “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?”
The papers were full of headlines about it over the weekend, and it was supposed to prove just how anti-Semitic Labour has become under left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn.
In truth, all the program proved was just how dishonest the British establishment and the Israel lobby have been in manufacturing this “Labour anti-Semitism crisis” for the past four years.
Mike Creighton, Labour’s former director of complaints, admitted this candidly in the film itself.
Asked by Corbyn’s top aide Seumas Milne how Labour could deal with the “crisis,” Creighton says he insisted Corbyn should give a speech, “particularly saying that Israel had a right to exist.”
That sums up what this fabricated “crisis” has been about all along.
Corbyn is a veteran Palestine solidarity activist.
That became the biggest weapon used to attack him from day one.
Israel’s supposed “right to exist as a Jewish state” is predicated on systemic racism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians – as my colleague Ali Abunimah has for years patiently explained.
Therefore, recognition of Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state” – as Israeli leaders and lobby groups demand – means recognizing that Israel has a “right” to be racist against Palestinians.
It is no surprise that a member of the old, New Labour establishment like Creighton would support such racism.
Blogging about his retirement in 2017, Creighton complained in his goodbye speech that Labour was becoming a “party of protest” against things like the Iraq war.
He wistfully recounted an anecdote about his hero Tony Blair.
More recently, Creighton tweeted that although he was remaining a party member, he was “not interested in winning government. I’m interested in winning the party.”
In other words he’s determined to win Labour’s civil war, even if it means sabotaging the party’s chances at the ballot box.
This was a message endorsed on Twitter by two activists from the Jewish Labour Movement, Ella Rose and Adam Langleben.
Both also appeared on Panorama last night.
The JLM is an explictly pro-Israel organization which has close ties to the Israeli embassy.
Indeed, Rose herself is a former embassy employee, who came straight out of that job and into a role as the JLM’s executive director in 2016, soon after the JLM was reactivated to fight against Corbyn.
Yet not only were these affiliations unmentioned on last night’s BBC program, these two heavily partisan figures were not even named!
Instead they appeared on screen, distressed, speaking straight to camera. The were presented as sympathetic whistleblowers against Labour Party racism.
Yet, as The Electronic Intifada has reported in detail for the past four years, the JLM has been one of the main groups promoting and manufacturing the false “Labour anti-Semitism” crisis all along.
If the BBC was so convinced of the truth of their claims, why did it not disclose their clearly relevant affiliations and let viewers make up their own minds?
The rest of the program went mostly along the same dishonest lines.
The limits to criticizing Israel
One of two main “experts,” portrayed as independent authors, was Alan Johnson, who tried to set what he claimed were the acceptable boundaries for criticizing Israel.
“You can say the occupation is wrong, you can say the settlements are wrong,” he opined – but he spoke against calling Israel “an inherently racist endeavor.”
This is the typical line of Israel and its lobby groups – recognizing the reality of Israel’s foundational and systemic racism against all Palestinians is deemed anti-Semitic.
It is no surprise to see Johnson putting forth this poisonous view – he is an employee of BICOM, the UK’s main Israel lobby group.
Once again Panorama did not mention this affiliation.
The program was chock-full of such figures – many who have been driving the manufactured “anti-Semitism crisis” all along.
One further example is telling.
Another of the young whistleblowers speaking “as a Jew in the Labour Party” was Alex Richardson – a member of the JLM executive.
The BBC did not name him, but I – and many others on social media – recognized him because he was a key figure exposed in Al Jazeera’s 2017 undercover documentary, The Lobby.
At the time of filming, Richardson was an employee of lawmaker Joan Ryan – who chairs Labour Friends of Israel, which is an Israeli embassy front group.
Ryan, who quit Labour earlier this year, was infamously exposed in Al Jazeera’s film fabricating an instance of “anti-Semitism” at the Labour conference in 2016.
But the film also shows that Richardson was personally involved in that same fabrication.