Unravelling the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey

4th July: this statement has been revised in the light of comments received.

Photo used recently to illustrate an article in Middle East Eye (see below)

Thousands of Labour Party members were shocked to learn that Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked from her position in the Shadow Cabinet based on her retweet of an interview with Maxine Peake, who is, incidentally, one of her own constituents. The allegation made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews was that she had engaged in a “conspiracy theory that Israel was responsible for the death of George Floyd”

Is that what she did? Is that what she said? Was that even what was in the article that she retweeted? No, no and no.

Keir Starmer said this to the BBC “The sharing of that article was wrong… because the article contained anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and I have therefore stood Rebecca Long-Bailey down from the shadow cabinet.” And “I’ve made it my first priority to tackle anti-Semitism and rebuilding trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority for me.”

Where were “these antisemitic conspiracy theories”? Within a wide ranging interview, including discussion about her new film, what highly respected actor Maxine Peake, actually said was:

“Systemic racism is a global issue … The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

What do we actually know? We do know that knee on neck is used by Israel (and we know it not least because this has been photographed on many occasions). We also know that police forces from many parts of the US have either sent officers for training in Israel or received training from Israeli security personnel in the United States. In total they number in thousands. The extent of this training has been attested to by Amnesty USA. And we do know that the Minneapolis Police, responsible for the death of George Floyd, was one such police force.

What we, and Maxine Peake, can’t know is whether that particular restraint technique was taught to US police, and specifically to members of the Minneapolis force. Independent witnesses are not available. A spokesperson for the Israeli Police has even denied that Israeli police use it domestically – despite profuse photographic evidence to the contrary.

The inference from these facts drawn by Maxine Peake as to where the Minneapolis police learnt the knee-on-neck technique went beyond the publicly available information. She has apologised for that. In particular there is no evidence as to where this despicable technique was first developed and used. But Israeli use of this brutal form of restraint is not in dispute, and one effect of Maxine’s statement has been to shine a light on this insufficiently well-known aspect of the technology of political control.

There is no suggestion in Maxine Peake’s statement that Israel is responsible for the death of George Floyd. The Minneapolis police force is  solely responsible for the lethal violence it deployed. Her statement reflects the fact that many people see the collaboration between Israel’s security establishment and repressive US police forces as deeply problematic.

Antisemitism doesn’t come into it.

Comments (145)

  • Vera Lustig says:

    Totally agree with all of the above. Keir Starmer, the eminent, highly “forensic” barrister, spoke of “conspiracy theories” on the part of Ms Peake. Why the use of the plural, and why the use of the term at all, when the facts are well documented.

    As a Jew, a Labour Party member, who voted for Keir, I am offended by this conflating with anti-Israel sentiment with anti-Semitism. I am sickened by Israel’s widespread human rights abuses; I don’t want to be protected from criticism and exposure of them. That would make me in some way complicit.

    Keir should do the decent thing, reinstate RLB and stand up to the people who want to silence all voices that are in the slightest way antagonistic to the State of Israel.

  • RC says:

    Commentators, including LP functionaries, not to mention Keir Starmer, who have denounced RLB and Maxine Peake, do not seem to bother to look at the evidence of widespread and long-lasting training provided by Israeli police to US police forces, nor at the notorious practices of the Israeli police. which bear a suspicious resemblance to the slow murder of George Floyd. They rely, it seems, simply on the belief that any criticism of Israeli practices must eo ipso be antisemitic.
    This rush to judgment and cavalier disregard for the need for evidence, casts doubt over the apparently very large number of suspensions and expulsions that have occurred and are still occurring. There are wider and still graver questions about the present course of the party as well as the quality of the personnel in charge.

  • Ann Foley says:

    So grateful to read this robust statement 💚
    It provides a foundation to challenge the status quo more assertively…right now.
    No more

  • Harry Law says:

    According to this article the neck technique taught by Israeli trainers was in the Minneapolis police manual…
    Many pictures of IDF using this technique in the article and prove that it is not a trope, neither is it Anti Semitic to criticize Israel, or is it?

    • Mike Cushman says:

      There is a reasonable suspicion that the Minnesota police were trained in the technique by the Israelis but we don’t have proof. US cops have their own record of brutality and it is perfectly plausible that they developed this murderous technique all by themselves. These articles just state that A happened and then B happened – that doesn’t prove that B was a consequence of A. After all the Israeli security forces have denied they taught the technique – you wouldn’t accuse them of lying would you? After all security services of all countries have a wonderful reputation for telling the unvarnished truth.

  • Rosaline Howell says:

    Well said. I am at a crossroads. I joined the Labour Party as a Corbyn supporter, I voted for RLB, but was prepared to support Starmer. Now I do not know whether to stay or go. I am appalled at the continued confusion on the left as well as the right about the difference between anti-semitisim and anti-zionism. I was in Israel in 1973 and saw what was happening there then. I am a proud Jew and a proud anti-Zionist. So, like many others as a Jew criticising the Zionist policies and actions of the Israeli State, I am open to the criticism of being anti-semitic. This is ridiculous. How can I be an anti-semitic Jew? There is SO much deliberate obfustication about this.

  • Martin Read says:

    Many thanks for this clarification. It’s a great shame that JVL is so marginalised by, invariably to the point of total omission, by the BBC and other MSM groups. I believe that this action and trend makes proper discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian situation far more problematic and likely actually further fuels consequent anti-Semitic thought and comment. Starmer’s seemingly ill-considered actions re. RLB concerns me such that I think I can no longer remain a member of the Labour Party.
    Again, thank you and keep fighting!

  • Iain Crawford says:

    IHRA guidlines specifically state that ¨criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic¨ – As this was the case there was no antisemitic content in the article.
    To then claim that comments about the behavior and actions of Israeli
    State Security Services are ‘antisemitic’ conflates actions taken by the State of Israel with ‘Jews’, a conflation plainly condemned by #IHRA as antisemitic.
    Are JVL going to complain to Labour about Starmers antisemitic behaviour?

  • Jim McNeill says:

    I am now considering how best to leave the Labour Party. Should I do so quietly? make a statement to my CLP? do something more dramatic? contact RLB and tell her I am leaving because of the treatment she has had to endure and the associated real difficulties she will now have to undergo by being branded as a racist? Curiously, Starmer has not, as far as I am aware, been criticised or scrutinised for his statement, still on the BBC website, which contained the phrase “rebuilding trust with the Jewish community”.

    • Mike Cushman says:

      I fully understand your anger but one of Starmer’s aims in sacking RLB was to get many members of the left to leave the party in disgust and make the Party safe for neo-Blairism. This is unachievable if there is an activist membership, it requires a shrinking of the Party back to pre-2015 size.

      We shouldn’t play into his hands we have to stay and fight.

  • noreen Bailey says:

    Rebecca should be reinstated she has worked so hard for labour and always has time for everyone i and so sad that Keir could even think of the action he took you reslly need to get your acyt together otherwise you are going to loose a lot of labour supoters we need Rebecca back

  • Viv Loveday says:

    “Systemic racism is a global issue … The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” The whole point of the example was to exemplify the internation aspect of systematic racism. It could have been any foreign force providing training; it just happened to be Israel. You know, Israel, the country with the worldwide reputation for counter insurgency policing and whose relationship with US policing and their methods and tactics have been highlighted byGeorge Floyd’s killing.

  • Paul Cockshott says:

    Ms Peake and Ms Bailey should sue for defamation.

  • Philip Ward says:

    I think a lot of people will leave the LP over this. Even if you don’t think that is the right thing to do, the left needs to think about how such people should organise in another political party – or they will be lost to the socialist movement.

  • John Howley says:

    I cannot but believe that starmer was a sleeper who is only now revealing his true colours. None of which include the colour red.

  • Valentin Kovalenko says:

    As a Jew I feel sickened by yet another Stalinist action by the present Labour leadership and thoroughly condemn it. I don’t think I will vote for this party in the foreseeable future. Shame.

  • Rebecca Michel says:

    Yes, criticising Israeli policing / military practices is not an anti-semitic conspiracy theory. I am a Jewish LP member, sick to the back teeth of antisemitism being used as a pretext to purge the party of lefties.

  • Daniel says:

    Shame Rebecca LB wilfully signed pledges to expel anti racists (misleadingly labelled antisemites) and also one to expel feminists. She is fully committed to the witch hunt mentality and displays a lack of judgement which does not merit martyr status. False allies are no allies.

  • John McDermott says:

    It worries me greatly that any criticism of Israel appears now to be forbidden.
    I really can’t stomach it.
    If you are silent you are on the side of the oppressor.

  • Jonathan Spurling says:

    I fully support this statement

  • Terry Casey says:

    I would like to ask why the article wasn’t condemned when it was published rather than when it was retweeted? This is happening too often to those on the left

  • James Hall says:

    Ample evidence of Israeli use of technique.

    Ample evidence of US Police use of technique.

    Indisputable that US Police trained in crowd control techniques by Israel.

    Occam’s Razor says US Police trained in technique by Israelis.

  • Anne Stainsby says:

    Kier Starmer has been very short sighted on this. Every country faces criticism at some point. He needs to look where the real prejudices are.

  • Jim Newsham says:

    Yes an absolute disgrace here from Starmer…his argument hasn’t got a leg to stand on. Maxine Peake stated a fact (that Israel has sent people to US states to train there police forces-why on earth are they doing that??) & RLB merely reported what the excellent Peake had to say. Starmer looks like a complete idiot. He’s married into a Jewish family & he would do VERY well to remain balanced on this matter… something he has completely failed to do so far …if he wants to lose supporters he is going about it the right way….think very carefully Kier …..because you’ve been a fool so far…

  • Nat Lindo says:

    Making statements about Israel is not anti Semitic.
    If it’s about supporting people who suffer as a result of how the state treats them.
    It’s not a criticism of the Jewish faith or Jewish people.
    Criticising the act that murdered George Floyd does not make hate Americans. It’s just not right and feel that you need to say as much.

  • Jacob Butler says:

    Is Starmer just obeying orders?

  • Janet Watson says:

    I fully agree with the JVL statement. I am totally sickened by Starmer’s attacks on party members who either support Palestinian rights and/or criticise Israeli policies. Why is it that we may criticise the policies of all states apart from Israel? Why have we been muffled? Starmer lied his way to election through his manifesto, which in no way led party members to believe he would purge the party of the left nor that he would purge the party of critics of Israeli policies, and through hiding, despite several requests, the source of his funding. If he felt it was reasonable to accept money from his donors, why hide their identity – or at least their affiliation. The election should have been declared null and void through his failure (ironically, as former QC) to declare the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (which in a court of law could lead to charge of perjury).

  • I sympathise with Labour Party members who object to Starmer’s supine bending the knee to Zionism. However, they should face up to the long association of the Labour Party with colonialism and neo-colonialism. It was a Labour Government that presided over the actual point when the Palestinian people saw their lands stolen with the support of the ‘supposed International Community’. I have boycotted the Labour Party on these grounds for years now.

  • I agree 100% with the article – well said. The only surprise for me is the indecent speed with which The Vacuous One has moved against her.

  • Jeff Gillett says:

    I agree completely. There is no sensible way in which anything said here either by Maxine Peake or by Rebecca Long-Bailey can be termed anti-semitic. Failure to confront the spuriousness of the accusation can only perpetuate the false conflation of criticism of the right-wing Israeli government with anti-semitism in the minds of those who don’t take the trouble to investigate more fully for themselves. Moreover, this does an immense dis-service to those who are genuinely opposed to anti-semitism. Nor is it a coincidence that each false accusation of anti-semitism that is acted upon in this ‘decisive’ (heavy-handed) manner looks like a deliberate weakening of the influence of the Left within the Labour Party. This was not the action of a man seeking to unite the Labour Party: it looks like the action of a man who is trying to purge the party of its left wing members.

  • Josune Arzalluz says:

    Reinstate Rebecca as all she did is sending news of Israel’s military tactics being used in USA, it is right to criticise Israel for their use of force against the Palestinian people, their killing and maiming is a daily occurrence. Do not brush reality under the carpet.

  • Steve Lanr says:

    I am also sickened but unsurprised at Keir Starmer’s
    Hasty and precipitous sacking of RLB.
    He is an unprincipled opportunist.
    Not unlike BoJo. Except smarter.
    I am seriously considering my membership of the Labour Party.
    I am also Jewish.

  • RH says:

    It’s been said before :

    There are only two classes of individuals who would hold the disputed statement to be ‘antisemitic’ : The naive and/or stupid and the venal.

    Starmer probably isn’t naive or stupid.

    …. which makes one very afraid of the hands into which the leadership of the opposition has passed, when principled alternative is required. I don’t think joining with the spivs, liars and fakes is a viable strategy for change.

  • Alice Bondi says:

    This was the inevitable outcome of the forced adoption of all the IHRA examples and Starmer’s moves to placate the Board of Deputies before, and most powerfully immediately after, his election as leader. Conflating the state of Israel with all Jews is an insult to Jews (who are not a ‘Jewish community’ of like-minded robots no matter how often we are referred to as such). I’m seriously wondering how it is possible to stay in Labour.

  • Michelle Eades says:

    I am against any form of anti anybody, but we should be able to to call out any sort of human rights abuse, wherever this may be, without fear of being labelled.
    We short be uniting to act against all abuse of human right to make this a more just and equal world.
    Reinstate RLB

  • Ian Merricks says:

    I am so glad Jewish Voice for Labour exists. Please try to ‘drown out’ the less factual voices.

  • dave says:

    As usual this is nothing to do with antisemitism. It’s been used as a bulletproof excuse to get rid of Long-Bailey. Starmer surely couldn’t believe his luck at being able to oust her so early.

    Meanwhile it’s business as usual on the media, with numerous pundits saying the Israel mention is an antisemitic trope. Not once do any of the hosts or journalists bother to ask if there is any relationship between the US and Israeli security forces, whether there have been any joint events etc., and not least if there is commonality in oppression in militarised policing. This is gross hypocrisy – the immensely strong US-Israel ties are often touted as a benefit but they disappear when there is a downside.

  • Catherine Hutchinson says:

    Searching for actual training of US by the IDF involving neck pressure I found this. Interestingly on a site promoting Israel. The techniques are clearly taught, the policeman who killed George Floyd is criticised here for getting it wrong and going too far.
    ‘Haberfeld, who has extensively studied police training modules in the US and teaches officers on the ethics of using force, said there are some legitimate takedown techniques by police that involve applying pressure around somebody’s neck.
    “But the more I’m seeing [this video], he is crushing [Floyd’s] neck,” she said. “As far as I know, that is not a legitimate training tactic in 2020.”’

  • Jon Farley says:

    Thank you for your statement with which I agree. The accusation made by Sir Keir doesn’t stand up to scrutiny but as he and RLB signed the BOD pledges this was going to happen at some point. It is still massively disappointing. Keep up the good work.

  • Dina Groden says:

    He has sacked her in the nastiest way possible by calling her an anti-semite. This will tarnish her reputation for a long time and will be used by her enemies. I am sure she is gutted to think that some people will believe this to be true. All sympathy to her and I hope she sues the Labour Party to show the world the truth.

  • Kevin Taylor says:

    Criticism is not anti-semitism

  • Doug says:

    No, no and no
    Thank you again for saving my sanity
    Im not that proud to say i genuinely had no clue
    My worry was and like 99.9% of members is that we are ignorant of our anti semitism and need educating
    So when it turns out to be part of the scam, we quite rightly are a bit miffed

  • John Webster says:

    Starmer said he would unite the Party. He has failed at the first hurdle.

  • H.C.GHURBURRUN says:

    Truth has nothing to do with facts.If facts say this technique of killing people through asphxia has been developed by Israeli soldiers,where is the harm of calling a spade a spade?

  • Keith Mackie says:

    Why the hell are US police getting training from the Israelis anyway? Do they need to be shown how to treat people of dark skin even worse?

  • Tim says:

    I’m neither a Jew nor a Labour member, although I’ve mostly voted Labour tactically in the past, and greatly like my Labour MP. However I am queer and have a disability so I do have an “iron in the fire” in the sense that, as Dr. Martin Luther King put it, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    One of the things that has long worried me about discussions around Israel is the conflation of criticism of the Israeli government and opposition to the existence of Israel itself. They are not the same thing, and that is not a standard which would ever be applied to another country.

    If I was critical of Xi Jinping, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, or Boris Johnson, I doubt anyone would assume that meant I believed China, America, Russia, or the UK should not exist. The idea is absurd! In truth, I believe each of those four nations would have great potential to do good in the world if it were not for their current governments. This is also my opinion of Israel and its current government.

    However that conflation of government and nation carries with it another similarity to events in America, Britain, and elsewhere. Just as accusations of antisemitism are used to deflect much needed criticism of the Netanyahu regime, things like black-on-black crime, drug use, family breakdown, etc. are used to deflect attention away from the systemic discrimination – including, but not limited to, police brutality – against black people which feeds those very problems.

    The more similarities you find between the two situations, the more disturbing they become.

  • Doug says:

    If Keir was genuine then RLB would have been suspended and her flat mate would have to move out
    Methinks pre action protocol is fod both RLB and MP to ask for clarification of statement and lay out what remedy there should be before legal action is taken

  • I’m not Jewish so I will reserve judgement as to whether it was antisemitic, but why has the editor of The Independent not been reprimanded if it is factually incorrect? Maybe because it is in fact correct.

  • Rob Wall says:

    I agree and have posted similar points on my CLP’s (Bedford & Kempston) facebook page.

  • Alan says:

    Do we have any heavy-duty sociologists, working in reputable (ideally, Russell Group) academic institutions, who could forensically – ouch! – examine this concept of “the Jewish community”?

    Do all Jews, from secular to Charedi, share common interests which make them a coherent “community”?

    I always wince when I see a reference in leftie circles to “the (religious adjective) community”. I suspect that this may arise from the indifference – or outright hostility – of many comrades to religion. A warm fuzzy reference to “the Jewish/Muslim/Hindu community” usually emanates from a politician who wants Jews/Muslims/Hindus to vote for him/her, but who is unprepared for, say, conservative attitudes to sexual morality, let alone the awkwardness of religions contradicting one another.

    [You might like to look at the article by Tony Booth posted here last April Speaking as if there is one ‘Jewish community’ is an antisemitic trope – JVL web ed]

  • Nick Jenkins says:

    Excellent statement. What nobody seems to be picking up on is the context of the interview. Early on, it tells us that Maxine Peake was supposed to be in Palestine right now, working with activists under the Israeli occupation. So her mention of Israel was not in some sort of vacuum, where she randomly picked that country to attack.

  • Graham James Fisher says:

    I want to know why comments about police methods should be judged as anti-Jewish. The same goes for criticism of the actions of the Israeli state, such as annexation of parts of the West Bank, and brutal actions of the security forces.

  • Patricia Young says:

    I’m afraid that Kier Starmer’s knee jerk response to the sharing of the article in question just shows HIM once again as being pro Israel , wasn’t it Kier Starmer who received a large donation towards his leadership campaign from a pro Israel lobby group. And did he withhold that information from the membership..?

  • Rik Stack says:

    I agree with the conclusions of this article, and respectfully sign-post the author to investigate the operation of a Kafkatrap throughout the mirage of Labour Party antisemitism accusations. This little known and seldom commented on sophisticated psychological device presents significant risk to more than just its victims.

  • Jacob Ecclestone says:

    I have two questions for Mr Starmer.

    Does he believe that members of the Labour party are entitled to exercise the same rights to freedom of expression as non-members – those rights being set out in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights?

    Or does he believe that it is legitimate for the Labour Party to restrict or limit members’ rights when discussing issues of political importance?

    The reason I ask is this. Two weeks ago, on 11 June this year, a panel of seven judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was unanimous in finding that France (one of 47 nations which have signed the convention) had contravened Article 10 when, in 2010, French courts had imposed fines on 11 people found guilty of demonstrating their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

    After hearing an appeal by the 11, the ECHR declared that “it was in the nature of political speech to be controversial and often virulent. That did not diminish its public interest, provided that it did not cross the line and call for violence, hatred or intolerance.”

    The court was careful to distinguish between “incitement to differential treatment (i.e. a boycott of Israeli goods) and “incitement to discrimination.”

    The judges declared that Article 10 of the convention “required a high level of protection of the right to freedom of expression.” It went on: “Indeed, on the one hand, the actions and remarks imputed to the applicants had concerned a subject of public interest, and on the other, those actions and words had fallen within the ambit of political or militant expression.”

    Unless I have totally misunderstood Mr Starmer’s reasons for dismissing Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet, it would appear that he takes a narrower view of members’ rights under Article 10 than does the Council of Europe’s highest court. To put the matter another way, Mr Starmer now seems to be saying that I – as a paid up member of the Labour Party – do not enjoy the protection of Article 10.

    It is troubling, at the age of 81, after a lifetime of involvement in the trade union and labour movement, to discover that the political party I joined in order to advance the cause of socialism is now telling me that I have fewer rights to freedom of expression than my neighbour who is a member of the Conservative Party.

    Many years ago, Jacob Bronowski and B. Mazlich wrote “that there is one freedom which can be defined without contradiction, and which can therefore be an end in itself. This is freedom of thought and speech: the right to dissent. The evidence of history is strong, that those societies are most creative and progressive which safeguard the expression of new ideas.” *

    * “The Western Intellectual Tradition.”

  • David says:

    I am not a JVL supporter, I am a member of JLM and Labour Friends of Israel (disagreeing profoundly with Netanyahu and his annexation policies). However, Keir’s high-handed action has only exacerbated the splits in the party. Rebecca is very able and whether you agree with them or not, signed the Board of Deputies ten pledges. Whether the allegations contained in Maxine Peake’s article are true or false, this is only one line of the entire article. I fear that such an overreaction will only exacerbate anti-Semitism and the poisonous conspiracy ‘theories’ with which this cancer is associated.

  • Shammy Batra says:

    She either did not read to see the reference to Isreal before sharing in which case shocking dereliction of duty by a shadow cabinet member – or read it and did not think she should consult leadership before sharing knowing that any references to Jews or Isreal need to be carefully considered given the right rollicking LP has received over anti-Semitism in which case doubly shocking derilication of duty – no excuse – she has shown she has scant regard for LP priorities and those of its leader. Good on Starmer to be resolute and decisivise

  • Dr Paul says:

    US police forces have a long and ugly record of brutal treatment of people, especially of black people, that goes back well before Israel was founded or even thought of as a practical project. Had Israeli involvement in police training led to an upsurge in injuries and deaths through a change in operational conduct, it would be relevant, but is there any sound evidence that this is the case? In the absence of any such evidence, it seems to me that Israeli involvement in police training is a marginal issue, one to raise in an in-depth study or book, but basically irrelevant when discussing BLM and current police brutality in a short newspaper article.

    Raising this Israel involvement is a daft thing to do in a short newspaper article, because, irrespective of the facts about it, it allows Labour’s enemies to pick up on it and to make accusations of anti-Semitism, in the full knowledge that the current Labour leader will immediately wield the disciplinary whip.

    I suspect that Starmer has other, more fundamental issues with Long-Bailey than this, and he’s using this episode as an excuse to clear her out. But she made a rod for own back here, as her endorsing Peake’s original article with its irrelevant mentioning of an Israeli connection put her directly in the firing line, something she should have realised would happen were she to endorse it. Her sacking is a scandal, but she really should have had the sense to have read the article before endorsing it.

  • Nigel Clayton says:

    Thank you for putting out this statement. I agree.

  • The right and centre right of the labour will sink to anything to discredit the left and to throw them to the lions

  • Margaret West says:

    There seems to be some convoluted reasoning here by the MSM.

    On the one hand “conspiracy theories” are mentioned but if you look at the definition it includes the phrase “some covert or influential organisation”.

    Surely then – as indicated in JVL April Article by Tony Booth – the fact that the MSM have completely ignored alternative Jewish opinions contributes to such a “conspiracy theory”. Thus (ergo?) the MSM are guilty of spreading an antisemitic trope.

    Ironically – the part of Ms Peakes interview in contention is but a small percent of the whole. A greater percent is devoted to LP Leader Keir Starmer: she stated that anyone who had a chance of displacing the current Tory shower – would have her support.

    I wonder what her opinion of him is now? Mine is – I totally disagree with his action over R L-B and just cannot understand why JVL is totally ignored by the MSM. I wonder what we can do to change this situation within the LP?

    I am not Jewish but Roman Catholic. At one time we were told we were not Christians but traitors to the State – and RCs were also guilty of this bigotry.
    Similarly we are told by the MSM that JVL is a “fringe” Jewish organisation – and some Sufi Muslims in India are told by their children they are not Muslim … and so on.

    I cannot understand this intolerance pervading in the day and age – surely we have had enough of it – particularly in the Labour Party? I certainly have and I try to listen to other points of view with respect and kindness.

  • Linda says:

    Thank you for this article, JVL always the voice of common sense, probably why you never hear it in the msm.

  • lucia spadetta says:

    I am a member of the Labour Party.
    Violation of human rights takes place worldwide. It is vital that the denounciation and fight against such violations happens with one voice and speaks in defence of all its victims.
    The aims of jfl, and, for instance, blm and jfjfp are the same.
    Wouldn’t it make a much stronger impact if we join events and speak with one voice?

  • Emma says:

    I am so disappointed in the stance taken by Sir Kier Starmer. I agree with what has been written in this article and thought much of the same after I heard the news that Rebecca Long Bailey had been sacked and hearing the reason given by Sir Kier for his action. It is worrying.

  • Dave Hansell says:

    On the basis of the spurious arguments made to denounce Long Bailey’s retweet of a perfectly reasonable objective set of factual observations as a “conspiracy theory’ it would seem reasonable to anticipate some degree of consistency in regard a similar set of observations on another matter published by a Mr G. Galloway today:

    “And so, before Christmas, Mr Desmond coincidentally attended a Conservative Party high-net-worth fund-raising dinner, and even more coincidentally found himself seated right next to Robert Jenrick, coincidentally the very minister who had to sign off his planning consent and the only man alive who could have ensured it was done in record quick time!

    In another remarkable coincidence, Mr Desmond donated thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party.

    So far, both Boris Johnson and the opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have refrained from calling for Mr Jenrick’s resignation.”

    The stark reality is that this kind of approach, in which all due process principles of objective evidence are abandoned in favour of the subjective self defined opinion of those who shout the loudest, is going to deny the LP any future success at the ballot box at every level.

    Whether it is this issue or others; in which blank cheque promises have been made to sub sections of specific interest groups claiming monopoly rights to speak for everyone in a particular group as though they are a single homogenous block with no diversity or deviation; such an approach will cost votes.

    One comment on this thread has already noted that LP members are being denied certain rights guaranteed at European level. And it is not exactly quantum mechanics to confidently anticipate a key line of media attack against the Party come election time will be to highlight this pitchfork and flaming torchers mob based approach posing the question to voters in constant banner headlines and articles:

    ‘Do you really trust this Party to have power over your due process rights as a citizen when it is denying those rights to its own members?”

    Promising to punish people on the principle of guilt by allegation and accusation based on the subjective opinion of those who shout the loudest and not even the following the CPS due process requirements of requiring substantiating evidence.

    The promises made to BoD and others by all the leadership candidates including RLB will be a rod which breaks the LP.

    What incentive is there for the majority of lay member foot soldiers to even bother getting out of bed in the morning to canvass and leaflet for an organisation controlled by people who are quite prepared to throw an election to prevent any deviation from an unworkable and unsustainable status quo?

    Which constantly attacks the majority of its own members in spurious discipline cases with no open process on the basis of other people’s subjective opinions?

    The reality is that the electorate have long seen through the snake oil carpet bagging shallowness and absence of substance represented by those wanting to go backwards to the Blair type of politics which is represented by KS. The Party does not have a hope in hell of getting anywhere on that platform, and spending years of your life continuing to fight internal battles with those whose real loyalties lie with being the “loyal” opposition is not at effective practical way to proceed.

    “Organising” to “fight” on that terrain which has not produced any tangible progress in decades needs a different approach. We need to be more canny. Members, like workers, are the ones who do all the donkey work. As a result one avenue is to organise as a Union of members; formulate demands; and withdraw labour until until the members rather than the bureaucracy control the Party.

    At the moment, and for far too long, the tail is wagging the dog.

  • john higginson says:

    Labour firmly has its own choke lead around its neck. Like they used on unruly dogs when I was kid. Anyone dare to be seen to be pulling out of line and its yanked back into line. I cant ever see the Tories swapping that nasty choke lead for any other kind of collar. Not when they can get so many labour voters and journalists to give it a hefty tug. Keir Starmer has shown a terrible weakness …. he had all the evidence from Amnesty international … why could not he have rested his case …. with elegance?

  • John Leary says:

    Why does the interpretation of anti-semitism alter when it comes to attacking those who aren’t Brairites?

  • Mari Davies Zadeh says:

    I completely agree with this article, I was absolutely livid when I watched Louise Ellman on the BBC news last night, I think that Maxine Peake and Rebecca Long Bailey have been slandered by these accusations of anti-semitism. I don’t have the link but I believe the Minneapolis police were trained in Israel, it could have been Security Forces or the IDF, and I think other Police Departments have also trained in Israel, and the photographic evidence of the same brutal techniques being used on young Palestinian men almost daily is beyond dispute. Louise Ellman, Heir Starter and the BBC should comment on these articles.

  • Martin Good says:

    Putting a knee, elbow or hand on the back of the neck is a well known, taught and practiced method of detecting movement in a suspect. Most movement starts in this area of the body as it contains amigdula and cervical spine. It is an early warning system to detect possible resistance to restraint. It is a longstanding tactic that has been in circulation for many years. It should not be used as a restraint and only moderately firm pressure should be applied to the subject. It defeats the object of the tactic to apply too much pressure. The object is not to use this technique as a restraint. It is taught as a tactic to be used only in extreme cases when dealing with a suspected armed person who is believed to carry firearms or other lethal weapons. It is taught to many armed military and police units that regularly have to deal with terrorists or other armed and dangerous suspects. It is not for general mainstream police work and would not normally be taught to officers in general policing roles in the UK.

  • Tony says:

    Perhaps Peake should consider taking legal action against Starmer.

  • Carmel Cadden says:

    Thanks for this article – and for the photos showing Israeli military using this knee-on-the-neck technique against Palestinians. It seems likely that Maxine Peake’s assumption is correct – which makes RBL’s sacking look unjustified.

  • Susan Noble says:

    So comforting to read these. Comments…..
    It is easy to think there is no decency left to trust in, have hope.
    Keep on proclaiming the truth don’t allow injustice to succeed.

  • Diana Baker says:

    It’s totally wrong that Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked.

  • Hugh David Morgan says:

    A fair and accurate comment.

  • Heather Skibsted says:

    Brilliant statement.

  • Chris Copsey says:

    As you say it is always members from the Left of the Party who are often accused, is this because they care criticize the Israeli Govt or indeed add some support for Palestinian Rights.
    Sadly I resigned from the Labour Party yesterday.

  • Godfrey Hutchins says:

    Without doubt Israel have a great deal to answer for in many ways, not least of the appalling treatment of Palestinians. It’s so obvious that Starmer has been bought by the BOD.

  • Nina Houghton says:

    Thank you, JVL, for your this clear, honest analysis, much needed in the face of the hypocrisy and misinformation that is circulating within and outside the Labour Party.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    There is plenty of evidence that American and Israeli security personnel, including the police, share training and experience. There is also plenty of evidence, including horrific and graphic photographic evidence showing that both the Israelis and the Americans use the technique of kneeling on someone’s neck. My guess, for what it is worth, is that nobody taught it to the other – they each managed to work out this appalling behaviour for themselves.

    But why the hysteria about Maxine Peake believing that the Israelis had taught it to the Americans? She is simply criticising a repressive regime who indisputably use the technique. She may be wrong (and I suspect is wrong) about Israel’s special ‘teaching’ culpability here. But that, if it is an error, is just an error of fact. She could as easily have said – ‘see this neck-kneeling. it’s not just the Americans. Loads of Israelis do it too – they clearly learnt it off the Americans’. That might have been wrong too (and, as I say, I reckon the security and police forces of neither nation are slouches in working out how to torment and oppress the already tormented and oppressed). But if she had put things in this reverse way, nobody would have become hot under the collar that the Americans were being traduced. Or would they instead of got excited because of the suggestion that the Israelis needed to be taught – not clever enough to devise this monstrous abuse for themselves, is that what you are saying?!

    That Israel’s population is majority Jewish and it is, both under the Nation-State law and before that, the nation state of the Jewish people, doesn’t mean that any criticism of Israel is inevitably criticism of Jews. If we go down this route, Israel will become the one state in the world that cannot safely be criticised ever, and of whom criticism will shrink ,as more and more people fear retribution for expressing any view that Israel is to any degree less than perfect. And then we really will have fuel for antisemitism conspiracy theories and resentments.

    People – including politicians – make mistakes all the time without anyone noticing or caring. Boris Johnson does it several times a day, each time he opens his mouth – and he gets away with it. Crucifying either Maxine Peake or RLB for possibly making a factual mistake about teaching, for crying out loud, without showing how this possible mistake signifies ‘Jew-hatred’ is an outrageous abuse of the very idea of antisemitism. And, of course, in all the maelstrom around who did or didnt teach who or did or didnt work out what, when and why, nobody is saying – ‘but look, see, all these pictures of Israeli soldiers and police kneeling on the necks of Palestinians. Perhaps now we should start a Palestinian Lives Matter campaign’.

  • Krys Stephenson says:

    Thank you for clarifying this. I was unsure just how much evidence of the use of this ‘technique’ in Israel there was, although I had vague memories of seeing it in news reports a long time ago. I don’t think this is a conspiracy theory, but a logical interpretation and extrapolation of known facts. It’s not anti-Semitism to hold Israel to account for excessive force or teaching that to other police forces if in fact they did. Mr Starmer needs to get his facts straight before he blindly tries to appease the Board of Directors and the Likud Party. He needs to realise that we have to be free to hold any country to account for it’s actions regarding either it’s own people or those under it’s control. Being Jewish does not and should not grant Israel carte blanche to break all the norms or decent behaviour, justice and human rights.

  • Liz Brynin says:

    I have already left the Labour Party as I could see where Starmer was going and could not bear it. I wrote to him personally to protest about his handling of certain things, but never even received an acknowledgment from his office.
    I am horrified at his treatment of RLB and I personally think he was just waiting for an opportune moment to throw her out. He has now manged to purge everyone of any true left-wing persuasion.
    I don’t like the direction in which the Party is heading – and I don’t see myself being able to vote Labour again for a long time. What is the alternative? I so wish all the disaffected left-wing members could start a new party as an alternative. I’d join it at once.

  • Vera Lustig says:

    As someone has pointed out above, Maxine Peake’s remarks aren’t in breach of the IHRA guidelines. It’s so reductive to hear apologists for Starmer talking about “the Jewish community”, as though we were one monolithic body. We’re diverse, polarised even. I think it’s the anti-Semitism of low expectations to assume that all Jews are incensed by criticism of Israel.

  • John Northeast says:

    This is an extension of the belief that to mention Israel in any context is anti Semitic. Rubbish. Livingstone was thrown out of the Labour Party for stating an historical fact – that Hitler flirted with Zionism (deporting Jews to Palestine) before he embarked on his exterminations. Can we get some reason into the debates, please ?

  • Paul Richardson says:

    Many thanks for providing another point of view to that which is being promoted as the one from the Jewish community. I have yet to find a ‘community’ of more than a dozen people that speaks with a single voice unless it is coerced to do so. Please make strenuous efforts to make your position known through the mainstream media channels.

  • Stuart Pink says:

    Wherever the origin of the knee on neck technique, evidence of its use by Israeli forces is irrefutable. But suggestion that condemnation is in any way antisemitic is ludicrous.

    [This comment has been subsequently edited following a complaint – JVL web]

  • William Edmondson says:

    To stay and fight for change within Labour – or to leave and fight to change Labour from without?

    I have chosen the latter – I resigned on 11th May. In the light of the “leaked report” which documented the extraordinary behaviour of some officials in the Party – efforts to undermine the election campaigns in 2017 and 2019 – I found I could not stay.

    The corruption revealed in the report is multifaceted – donations were solicited from members, no doubt in good faith but subsequently used in part to employ people to work against the cause for which the donations were sought. The officials involved in trying to bring about electoral defeat corrupted the political process; those who knew were complicit and those who could have taken action sooner (and stronger) when the leak became widely know were also complicit. Moral corruption was also revealed in the whole sorry affair, and later also in Starmer’s office by the underbussing of Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. And most recently Rebecca Long-Bailey.

    The breadth and diversity of the corruption within the Party undermined Corbyn and is being used against anyone who fights the particular direction of change currently being imposed by Starmer (there is no suggestion Starmer motivated the undermining of Corbyn; he took over the leadership of a corrupt Party and is using what is on offer). Attempts to change the Party from the bottom-up are not obviously going to succeed.

    On the other hand – trying to argue for socialism and greener (and redistributive) values in economic models looks more likely to succeed if attempted in wider society. The force for driving change is then that the Party becomes afraid of being seen to be irrelevant and left behind. It’s worth trying.

  • Margaret West says:

    The question has been raised as to why Ms Peake mentioned the US
    and Israeli police in the same sentence when clearly the choke hold is promulgated by many other police authorities .

    Apart from the fact that until lockdown Ms Peake was supposed to be in Palestine – there is a very large elephant in the room.

    Has everyone in the MSM forgotten that the annexation of Palestine land by the current Israeli Government is imminent and is supported by the US President and *his* government?

  • Joyce Webb says:

    Conflate Solidarity Equilibrium Opiate of The Masses The Invisible Hand
    Weaponise conspiracy evil The Collective

  • Huw Spanner says:

    I rather agree with Dr Paul at 14.37. I think Peake spoke rather loosely, to say the least — I’ve never heard of the Mossad giving seminars to US policemen, and it’s only speculation that any other Israeli agency might have taught them the technique of kneeling on someone’s neck. Of course, we don’t know whether the ‘Independent’ quoted her selectively. I think that a responsible journalist would have challenged her on this allegation — I certainly would have done so — and I suspect that there was a degree of mischief in someone’s mind in allowing it into print. I also think that RLB was probably foolish to retweet the article, though it occurs to me that she might well not have read it closely.

    But it is a scandal that Starmer has sacked her. If Peake had alleged that US cops had learnt the technique off the Ukrainians or the French (say), I am sure that many people would have questioned it but I doubt that anyone would have accused her of racism. It does seem that in relation to Israel alone a kind of reverse racism is in operation: there seems to be a presumption in some quarters that it is such a manifestly decent and liberal state that if someone suspects it of something indecent and inhumane, there can only be one explanation: they are guilty of Jew-hatred.

    Clearly Starmer is desperate to be judged to have “dealt with the scourge of antisemitism in the Labour Party”. (Perhaps he was also looking for a pretext to sack RLB anyway.) But he will only have encouraged demands for further proofs. Now that he has humiliated Diane Abbott and sacked RLB, I predict that it is only a matter of time before he is urged to expel Jeremy Corbyn from the party — what Robert Peston referred to at the JLM leadership husting as “a deeper reckoning” — and I think he will find it very, very difficult to say no.

  • Miriam Yagud says:

    To all those Labour Party members planning to leave over this (and other recent failures) by the leadership – I’m staying because:
    “They won’t notice you leaving but they will notice you staying.
    The fight is long but worthy for a socialist policy government that our people want and deserve, we just need to learn how to better communicate our message and fight and change racist, xenophobic and benefit scrounger views. ”
    I’m taking this advice from Laurie D

  • Glyn says:

    Maybe Starmer didn’t realise this training was taking place, and is as extensive as it clearly is?

    Starmer is himself guilty of antisemitism by overreaction for equating the mere mention of Israel with there being some underlying anti-Semitic motivation behind it.

    The Israelis are seemingly quite proud of the relationship, it’s not a secret. Maxine Peake mentioned it in the context of brutal ME tactics not really being applicable to policing US streets. If it were the brutal Egyptian police, or Saudis training the US police I’m sure she’d have mentioned them instead of Israel.

  • Mr A.M.Savage says:

    Has anyone thought that she was his greatest threat if a run for leadership came up, just a thought or some may say I have started another conspiracy theory

  • Janet Lee says:

    Fully applaud the article, I feel the threat of being branding antisemitic when, as your article stated, guilt by association being the only evidence produced, is remarkably close to the “Karen” phenominon in the USA, if the accuser has no evidence of antisenetic activity the accusor should face the removal from the Labour party. As a Jeremy Corbyn supporter myself, I do not blindly support him and his socialist views, if any of those views travelled down the road of racism, anitisemetism, homophobia, islamaphobia, he’d loose my support instantly. Just looking for a more honest form of politics, leave the ” false accusers at the curb, no time for false witness in politics. Its not a reality show, its peoples lives and liberties these people are dealing with.

  • Stephen Williams says:

    Any positives? Yes, one. The issue of US police going to Israel has at last been aired in the UK press. Many people who had no idea were undoubtedly sent scurrying to the internet; and a good number will have been shocked by what they discovered.
    It’s good to see the Zionist lobby making a stupid mistake; rather than quelling discussion of the topic, it has encouraged it.
    Similarly, Louise Ellman did a lot for the campaign against child abuse when she ostentatiously excused it in Parliament.
    By the way, will Labour MPs never learn that appeasing the lobby ends in failure? Jeremy’s attempts led to more vilification. Rebecca thought that by agreeing to BoD demands all would be well. Now she knows.

  • You should also emphasise that it can’t be called a conspiracy theory. Cooperation between US police forces and Israel is well-known and seen as entirely proper by many in the USA.

    I did a blog you might like, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Jews-in-Britain.

  • john Webster says:

    I supported Corbyn – DESPITE never believing that he was anything more than a Romantic Socialist – because he talked about Justice, which has to be at the heart of everything we do in politics – and justice is international and cannot just apply to those in the ‘west’. Why do Palestinian lives NOT matter?
    I thought the way Corbyn responded to the antisemitism jibes was pathetic. He failed to respond to them – I assume on the advice of his ‘advisers’.
    Rebecca Long-Bailey has a choice now. She was a poor candidate up against Starmer. He would have beaten her regardless. She now needs to learn how to fight. She is now a victim so she has every right to fight back and take the mantle of leadership in that fight BY DEFAULT. She should grasp it as an opportuniuty and liberation, and turn Starmers decision against him.
    He has lied. He said he wanted to unify the Party. Instead he is doing what pro-Israel elements, right wing Labour and the Tories want: returning Labour to being the Parliamentary Tweedledee to the Tory Tweedledum.
    She can either fight and become a leader or she can go, get out of politics, live a nice comfortable life and let someone else take on the fight. She needs to develop more of a presence and improve her speaking ability. She needs to learn how to shout.
    The lack of talent in the Parliamentary Labour Party is woeful – but people grow into jobs. The one qualification they need is courage. Conflict will build their muscles.

  • Andrew says:

    “there is enough evidence to support Maxine Peake’s inference that the knee on neck technique has an Israeli origin”
    You absolutely CANNOT make these kinds of claims without evidence. Police forces in America and England (among others) have used choke hold restraint techniques for decades. The Israeli seminars which Peake referred to took place in 2012. Therefore, she was wrong.

    And furthermore, singling out Israel for an incident of institutional racism in America is lazy and dangerous. Why not discuss the horrific practices of our own police? Did you know that our police here in the UK are permitted to use neck restraints?

  • Marie Harrison says:

    Sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey is clearly a political issue designed to intimidate the left in the LP. The interview with Maxine Peake was mainly concerned with her work as a successful actor and Maxine Peake mentioned her own left wing credentials to encourage those of us in the Labour Party to stay and fight for the Manifesto.

  • I gave up with labour the day the three candidates signed the bod 10 point rules as many labour voters did .RLB in signing this made a rod for herself and in doing so many of her own constituents will have left the labour party like I did and will not be back until Starmer and his like are removed.

  • Patricia Wheeler says:

    But Rebecca should have checked her facts before sending her tweet. Wasn’t she supposed to be the shadow Education Secretary?

  • Paul Foden says:

    I posted very similar (that stating something about/against Israeli tactics is not antisemitic) and Barnet Momentum asked me to amend it, stating that it was antisemitic.
    I, of course told them to jog on.

  • Bill Barnett says:

    The attack is against people who IDENTIFY as left wing. A majority of members support most manifesto policies unreservedly but very few members actually self-identify as left wing and so don’t respond ‘in solidarity’ when only ‘the left’ complains. Starmer can afford to ditch the self-identified left, but not the mass of left-without-realising-it ordinary members. We need to broaden the narrative away from ‘an attack on the left’ towards ‘an attack on real Labour values’.

  • Jim Denham says:

    Everyone knows that the US cops didn’t know how to kill black people until 1948.

  • I am genuinely sorry that Kier has broken my own trust in him by this sacking, especially after Rebecca L.B complied with his first requests. I understand his reasons but feel that he has over reacted and has damaged his support base and his efforts to unite the party. I am not sure how he can ‘row back’ from this to restore cross party confidence.
    It certainly stands in very stark contrast to Boris Johnson’s treatment of Dominic Cummings and now Robert Jenrick.

  • Doug says:

    Apologies if this has already been posted
    Time to stand our ground, sign up as many supporters as we can organise in 10 days, members only to a statement put together by JVL calling out the actions of Starmer and conservative Jewish community
    Needs to be strong enough to get us suspended, then we can fire the starting gun for a challenge

  • Kuhnberg says:

    Since no-one has been able to demonstrate a direct link between the Israeli military and George Floyd’s killing, it was wrong for Maxine Peake to suggest that Such a linkage was an established fact. This being said, it seems to me likely that Peake’s sense of outrage at Israel’s many human rights abuses fed subconsciously into the linkage. That doesn’t mean that it was antisemitic In the normally accepted meaning of the term, merely that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has created an atmosphere of indignation that makes such linkages commonplace. If Israel wishes to dispel this atmosphere it will have to start respecting the Palestinians’ human rights.

    What Starmer’s action demonstrates, however, is that Labour’s left are now on notice that they must tread extremely carefully when it comes to anything that can be construed as a criticism of Israel. So carefully, in fact, that if they want to remain in the party they would be best advised to avoid the subject altogether. This inevitably has the effect of stifling free speech and outlawing honest and open debate, which is precisely why Israel’s defenders have been so vigilant on this issue.

    So long as Starmer is leader, we will not see Labour putting pressure on Israel to seek a just accommodation with the Palestinians. This Is a tragedy, for the Labour Party, for Israel, and for the world.

  • Doug says:

    Novara media
    Aaron Bastani and Michael Walker give us hope for the future when they make a very simple point
    You cannot deal with bad actors
    The Tory 2nd team must leave the Lqbour party
    By fair means or foul

  • David Willis says:

    I too have left the Labour party. I thought I would give Starmer a chance, but then I saw his cabinet and realised the ways things were going to go. RLB was always a token to the left, and as such dispensable. He now has his loyal fan base in the cabinet. This article needs to be aired far and wide to show the way in which the party is going, and the sheer hypocrisy of Starmer’s approach. The party is on the road to nowhere.

  • Stephen Mitchell says:

    There is not a semblance of antisemitism in Maxine’s article. She points out that American police forces are trained by some of the worst human rights abusers in the world. What is antisemitic about that? There is no attack on the Jewish diaspora. Are members now expected to refrain from criticizing the Israeli State no matter what atrocities they carry out. I am worried my party will regress to the days of New Labour. I have no use for such a party. I voted for Starmer but I am now seriously considering cancelling my membership. My two children are doing the same. I believe the vast majority of the Labour membership are of the Left. The Party cannot afford mass resignation.


  • Iain Crawford says:

    Couple of questions – as Starmer claims that this is all about making the Labour a safe place for Jewish people.
    Will his handling of this make Jewish people more or less likely to remain or become Labour Party members?
    Is there any way of finding the number of Jewish people who were are/members historically and now?

  • R.P. Scales says:

    I did a wide-ranging Internet search on the topic of choke-holds/neck-kneeling. It seems that this form of restraint has been widespread and for a long time. Probably all military unarmed combat manuals include it, and it is a common martial arts manoeuvre.
    It was banned by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1980. It is commonly used by French police, and a Paris delivery driver was killed this way in January of this year. Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, banned the practice and hastily reinstated it after the police took offence.
    In 2018 the ex-Royal Marine and UKIP councillor Stephen Searle murdered his wife by this means. The point is that he had received the training.

    I accept that Israeli security services have used it against Palestinians. The evidence is there. I accept that various foreign police forces have trained with the Israeli police. Amnesty International has made this much clear.
    However, I think that it’s gilding the lily to assert that any police force (or other service) with a vicious streak actually needed to learn this technique from Israelis when it was widely known and practiced anyway.

  • Rosalie Walker says:

    I don’t like the constant wrangling in the LP about firstly Corbyn,now Starmer. Is the LP ever going to try and have some consensus over policy and leadership?Discussions need to take place before the media play havoc with decisions made by the LP.Corbyn and Starmer are very different but I’m prepared to live with the choice made. Nobody’s perfect but accountability is essential.The word TEAM comes to mind,therefore leadership must remember this when deciding on a policy or action. We should be well ahead now with a Tory government in meltdown. Please think carefully if unity is to be preserved.

  • Doug says:

    I’m 60 years old and we studied modern history from 1919 onwards
    I believe we are the last generation to be taught never to forget
    The idea that anyone could make a vexatious claim of anti semitism to attack a political opponent is about as low as it gets
    I think this should be a hate crime and prosecuted

  • Boabi says:

    I’m passed caring about Labour. I was dumbfounded to discover that my membership subs were going toward paying people, Labour staffers, who sabotaged the party from within, who viewed the membership with utter contempt, we’re racist and weaponised antisemitism to damage the leader of the party and his allies. I will never vote for Starmer’s Labour Party which is little more than the Tory B-Team.

  • Patricia Guilfoyle says:

    Thank you for helping to show this is not a clear cut AS trope and conspiracy theory .

  • RC says:

    The indubitable record of the US police in gratuitous repression and torture is no evidence at all that they had no need for further refinement in their brutal techniques; nor indeed is the similar Israeli record evidence that they cannot sink any lower. A point that such tireless defenders of Israeli repression and aggression as Jim Denham (above) do not seem to have noticed.

    For the future, we need to know what oaths of loyalty to Israel Kate Green had to offer to acquire her new portfolio. To be fair, she did sign the 2017 EDM against the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (Al Quds); but so did Mike Gapes! More important, we need to know what oaths will in future be demanded for aspirants to other shadow, and let us hope actual, ministerial positions. Or will Starmer leave it to the reliable McCarthyism of the GLU and mass media such as the BBC, whose Newsnight had the impudence to give deferential pride of place to Louise Ellman, stalwart defender of the brutal child abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli police and soldiery; Emma Barnett shouted down Matt Wrack, who at least attempted to dodge her hail of insults, while attempting to assess the evidence for Peake’s and Long-Bailey’s assertions. In such circles, including it seems the shadow cabinet, to criticise Israel is to be silenced and/or expelled. This reinforces the case for independent socialist (not merely Labour) media to put our views across, free of state controls and commercial pressures.

  • Vera Lustig says:

    To Iain Crwford, 27 June at 15.59: I’m a Jew and a Labour member. I was so incensed by Keir’s actions and words that I seriously contemplated tearing up my membership card. I only relented because of the need to unite to get shot of the Tories, and also because Labour is committed to pressing for sanctions against Israeli settlements.

    Still, the fact remains that in sacking RLB, Keir spoke like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

  • Geraldine Cowan says:

    I’m trying to figure out if Kier Starmer is amazingly ignorant or completely blinded by Israeli (friends of USA) misuse of the notion of racisism. For someone, who claims to want to bring both sides of the Labour Party together, he seems very keen to make war on the left, just like Tony, let’s have an illegal war, Blair when he first won leadership of the party. Stay on it JVL

  • M Archer says:

    As it was wrong for George Floyd to be treated as he was , so is it equally wrong for Palestinians to be treated that way . I one picture , not only is a soldier or policeman kneeling on the victims neck , another is sitting astride his back and punching him . NO ONE anywhere in the world should be treated like this ..

  • J Edmonds says:

    Here is Starmer taking a leaf out of the Johnson/Trump playbook. Thinking that he can twist and pervert the story to his purpose and then push the lie he has made it into down everyone’s throat.

    I cannot understand how it can happen in the Labour Party that one man’s ambition and personal politics and allegiances is allowed to taint its justice in this way.

  • Christina Evans says:

    I read an article in Antisemitism UK which was before Rebecca’s sacking. In the article they welcomed what Keir Starmer was doing re anti semitism in the party but they wanted him to do more. To take action against Jeremy Corbyn. Dianne Abbot, Claudia Webbe and others. Not long after this Rebecca was sacked from the cabinet. Antisemitism UK have stated they wanted Jeremy Corbyn and others effectively dealt with BEFORE the sacking. Regarding the technique used that killed George Floyd I looked up the fact finding organizations take on the whole affair. It makes for interesting reading it does not endorse that this technique was taught to the American police as the police in America had been doing it before the 2012 event when Israeli services went to America. However it did not say that the Israeli forces dont use this technique as well as they quite clearly do. They and the American police have been to training courses in different countries including here. I read it that FACT Finding said there is the possibility that the police officer who murdered George Floyd was at the training course in 2012 but not the other officers. He was in the force and area in 2012 when the training took place. It needs to be read and people can make their own assumptions. It gives you the facts nothing more nothing less. It does not discount what Maxine Peake said only that this technique had been used beforehand by American police.

  • Doug says:

    To all members and supporters
    Two major unions up for grabs Unite and GMB
    NEC elections
    Class action against Quislings in party is best chance,
    Greatest challenge is to speak with one voice

  • Kwame says:

    What an injustice against Becky and the truth is that Israel is guilty of crimes against humanities

  • Chris smedley says:

    Yes its a known fact that Israeli security forces help train police forces from around the world. They also develop and export a frightening array of crowd control and spyware devises. And your photos seem to show at least share knee on neck restraint techniques.

  • Dr A.D.Harvey says:

    Margaret Hodge has remarked, in connection with this sacking, “This is what zero tolerance looks like.”
    Looks like post-Corbyn Labour has zero tolerance for anyone who criticizes Israel security operatives.

  • Jim Denham says:

    This statement of support for Palestinians was published just after the sacking of RLB, part of a letter put out by the Socialist Campaign Group :

    ‘The British Government should make clear to Israel now that any annexation of the occupied Palestine land would lead to sanctions.’

    The letter is unhesitant in its condemnation of Israel’s plans and its support of Palestinian statehood. It demands meaningful action against Israel in the form of sanctions.

    And yet it hasn’t sparked a row over antisemitism. None of the signatories – including Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Burgon – face any disciplinary measures for endorsing it.

    It is worth bearing that in mind before making hysterical allegations about the RLB sacking (whether you agree with it or not) being part of some conspiracy to outlaw criticism of Israel within Labour.

    RLB did not say anything about Israel itself, or about the treatment of Palestinians: she approvingly shared a newspaper interview in which Maxine Peake tied the murder of black American George Floyd to Israeli training of US police – despite there being no evidence that the latter led to the former and Amnesty International putting out a statement denying that they had ever claimed this.

    The more hysterical elements claim this will hinder Labour MPs and members from speaking out against Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. And yet 21 Labour MPs quite rightly face no backlash – certainly not from within Labour – for signing a statement calling for sanctions against Israel.

    The difference, of course, is that the letter dredged up no conspiracy theories, unleashed no vitriol about Zionist lobbies, and simply stuck to the reality of Israel’s Trump-backed plan to illegally annex swathes of the occupied West Bank, permanently seizing Palestinian land. If some of the signatories have a problematic history with antisemitism, that does not make their letter problematic: it wasn’t and no problem has arisen.

    The RLB row shows just how easily some British pro-Palestine (or, to be accurate, anti-Israel) campaigners link all the world’s evils to Israel. In her interview, (apparently based upon a Morning Star article of June 1st (Electronic) / June 2nd (print) that contains no hard evidence), Peake goes from Floyd’s killing to Israeli training of US police in a heartbeat – apparently the nearest available evidence of the global nature of systemic racism. Somehow, Israel is always the nearest available evidence, ‘Zionists’ the ultimate diagnosis for every political ill.
    People would do well to read what ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’, the leading anti-racist and pro-Palestinian campaign group (who are campaigning for the de-funding of the US police) have to say about this: they call it out as “encouraging an antisemitic narrative.”

  • JoeP says:

    JVL and its supporters give the impression that all who have complained about antisemitism in the Labour Party are supportive of all Israeli policies. That this is complete nonsense has been exemplified by Margaret Hodge’s support for Lisa Nandy’s proposal for the UK to boycott West Bank goods produced by Israeli firms if the annexation of Occupied territories goes ahead.
    JVL attempts to give the impression that it is virtually the only progressive voice of Jews in the U.K. However in a 2015 survey http://yachad.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/British-Jewish-Attitudes-Towards-Israel-Yachad-Ipsos-Mori-Nov-2015.pdf, two thirds of U.K. Jews were found to be supporters of a two state solution. This naïve attempt of JVL is to some extent understandable because most of those two thirds thought they were in the minority, whereas the expansionist one third thought they were in the majority.
    Portraying the elimination of antisemitism in Labour as unequivocal support for Israeli policies is disgraceful.

  • Jim Denham says:

    JoePMuch of what you sat is true, but your mistake is to assume that most supporters of JVL support two states. Officially, JVL probably takes no position but in reality it’s obvious that the majority are one-staters.

  • Iain says:

    From what I’ve seen & read so far I agree with views expressed jn this post.Yes Keir has made a mistake.Israel should be challenged at every level on its abuse if human rights.Especially when it MURDERED so many people on it’s border & the rest of the world looked on & did NOTHING.

  • Linda Scurrah says:

    Totally agree.As someone of Jewish extraction I am so sad that the Jews who support Labour are never given a voice in the mainstream media which just perpetuates this unjust trope

  • Gordon Churchill. says:

    The conflation of criticism of action by the Israeli military and government with antisemitism is a) based on misunderstanding; b) deliberate obfuscation; c) misguided or inept political decision.

  • DJ says:

    Surely the two nation solution is dead. A discussion about how to achieve an alternative multi ethnic and secular democracy is sorely needed.

  • Vera Lustig says:

    Israel’s annexation of 30% of the West Bank is now imminent. We mustn’t be deflected from campaigning against this.

  • Michael Rafferty says:

    As far as I know, the sacking was in response to a whine by the Jewish Board Of Deputies. But who should we believe and how can we possibly believe any of the current fake news being disseminated in regard to a multitude of topics?

  • Graham fletcher says:

    Maxine you were correct in your statement . It’s just a right wing witch hunt . But you are in good company with all the other principled people. Who have been attacked by these worthless , children of a lesser god. Take heart you are well loved by the people . Graham 50 years union shop steward / conveyor and activist . CHE GUEVARA says NO FEAR

  • tim says:

    Clearly there is a deeper agenda being followed. The idea that criticism of the Israeli government or its security forces is anti-semitic is plainly absurd. Put a different, less oppressive, government in place and stop the heavy handed treatment of Palestinians merely trying to live in their own homes and all criticism would cease – it is the behaviour that is problematic, not the ethnicity or religion of the people responsible. Any idiot can see that, apart from – apparently – those who wish to use this to further their own disgusting agenda. Of course they know this, but they won’t let facts refute their narrative or disturb their paranoia. Many Jewish people are wholly opposed to the Israeli government too – are they also anti-semitic? It’s a big lie. There is a theory that actually Keir Starmer acted out of expediency rather than principle – that he felt he had to be seen to act in order to appease those accusing anti-semitism, but that in truth Rebecca Long-Bailey will be re-admitted once this has blown over. I hope and trust that this will be the case, but the fact we have to kow-tow to this Zionist (not Jewish) regime is immoral, insane, and absolutely reprehensible.

  • Kath Shaw says:

    Completely agree. Excellent article.

  • Agreed. Just expediency by Starmer who had already sidelined her.

  • Use of language around serious Sensative Information at what is going on politically requires the language which can be explained objectively. Conspiracy theory may contain references wherein the safety of the individuals is a primary concern at state level. For myself, with my time as an Erasmus student. My own reaction is that it is rude.

  • Harry Law says:

    The Home Affairs Select Committee added two caveats to the IHRA working definition, both were rejected by the Government who thought the IHRA document contained sufficient information to enable criticism of Israel…..
    “We broadly accept the IHRA definition, but propose two additional clarifications to ensure that freedom of speech is maintained in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine, without allowing antisemitism to permeate any debate. The definition should include the following statements:
    • It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
    • It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
    25.We recommend that the IHRA definition, with our additional caveats, should be formally adopted by the UK Government, law enforcement agencies and all political parties, to assist them in determining whether or not an incident or discourse can be regarded as antisemitic.
    Here is the IHRA lead in to the examples
    Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
    Here is example 8
    Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
    Maxine Peake prefaced her comment about the Israeli police by saying “Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. Clearly not singling Israel out as per example 8, similarly, “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic” Russia and China don’t train the US police, I can’t think of any other country that does, if any to the massive extent that Israel does, and they [the US and Israel] are both proud of it, there is no secret, so there are no “anti Semitic conspiracy theories”.

  • Harry Law says:

    The newly-deleted web page that seems to exonerate Long-Bailey and Peake
    ‘Israeli Tactical School’ site offered ‘law enforcement’ training it claimed is carried out by ex-Israeli security services personnel – “based on the curriculum of Israeli security forces and special units”.
    A website deleted in the last few days, since the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey by Keir Starmer, appears to exonerate both Long-Bailey and actor Maxine Peake over the article in which Peake linked training provided by the Israeli state to US police to the ‘knee on the neck’ technique used by Minnesota police and which killed George Floyd.
    In spite of photographic evidence in Israeli newspapers showing it in use, the Israeli authorities denied that such a technique forms part of their methods and both Long-Bailey and Peake rowed back on their original comments, as did the Independent.
    However, the website of the ‘Israeli Tactical School, which provides security training to US police and Secret Service officers, casts doubt on the denial.

  • KRAV MAGA is the name to research. A well known Israeli “counter terrorism” combat system taught to Americans and others and has links to everything you need to know. Oddly, Kier Starmer, for all his Israeli connections has never heard of it!!

  • Rosie Brocklehurst says:

    Good statement JVL. Keir for Leader FB Page was set up as a useful instrument to test the waters and act as alternative forum for the soft left, back in 2016. It was for people who thought Starmer was largely untainted by association with the right, the only one with appeal beyond the Party to Middle England. Familiar? But the voting population has shifted in nature since 1997. It now comprises a mix of the freely xenophobic and ignorant, & includes a working class rump about whom Blue Labour is too conciliatory and towards whom, socialists should be less than sentimental. Populists hold on to a mythology of an imperial past, patriotic shibboleths that make them feel part of something, and their rampant xenophobia hides self-loathing and unspecified fear. They are the victims of their own ignorance, the ERG, the MSM, and Faragists, Sad really. But they are hugely dangerous at this moment in history. Others in this mix are less despicable: people living on low wages, frightened, angry don’t understand who is to blame, overly influenced by the BBC, the Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail.

    Rebecca was a loyal socialist to Corbyn and McDonnell, but as others point out, has made errors of political judgement before and came over too frosty. A pity. Principled but with presentational gaps. It matters. Unfortunately. But she showed she did not have much nous either so it seems. The tripwire of ant-Semitism was something she should have been aware of as a Front Bencher. The left’s hopes were riding on her. Always read Tweets before re-tweeting, or close your account. There were very few people who had what it takes on Labour’s Front Bench to be leader, despite some being really good people. Starmer does perform well against Johnson in the House (not very difficult but he did a terrible interview with Sky’s Beth Rigby. He is uncomfortable yet out of the comfort zone of the House. So, he has proven to be weak on media opportunities, on political vision, and political nous, and revealed his political fragility by his actions on the leaked report, and his rolling over in front of the BoD steamroller on behalf of the Party. He referred himself to training on BLM matters when calling BLM protests ‘a moment’ as if it would soon pass, rather than a turning point. Yet he did not refer Rebecca to training. Rank hypocrisy there.

    Of course, he was furious at Long-Bailey exposing his left flank to Tory criticism on schools by her strong position to keep them closed until safe, except for essential workers. She proved correct. It is far too early in the game for him to show he can’t be trusted. He must be thanking his lucky stars there will be no Conference this year. He has dampened much goodwill and most enthusiasm, and he is making few inroads outside of the House, missing many a trick. Perhaps he really is plastic and process driven. He is likely to win (like Biden) because of external factors not of himself. He is a league ahead of the opposition. He is also uninspiring. He may have wished in some daydream to keep the Party united. Most leaders pay lip service to membership. In many ways, Corbyn knew his base and got them all to join up, or rejoin, so he and the majority of members were ‘one’ so to speak. And many were non-joiners before. People with single issues feeling revitalised, or young people, far too young to have ever been through hard left politics of 50 years ago. Starmer has been a ‘sleeper’ candidate for leader all along.

    All I can say is if you leave the party now, it sends a message, but only leave if you know absolutely there can be no filtering of your re-application. It is hard to fight from the outside. It is also hard to fight from the inside when CLPs do not meet, and in the current climate. Wait perhaps to make your decision until food prices rocket, shelves are empty, unemployment reaches 4 million, and Covid spikes in another wave.

  • Philip Giddings says:

    Moreover, the article that Becky shared quotes the Israeli police denying they use that restraint method or train others to use it. Therefore the article is balanced and does not promote any conspiracy trope. To suggest otherwise is to smear the editor of The Independent.

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