A Labour Party Member and member of its National Executive Committee has been suspended from the Party after reiterating an antisemitic conspiracy theory about recent claims of an “Israeli agent” infiltrating the party’s leadership.
The pronounced anti-Israeli party member, Pete Willsman, was also believed to be a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn during his run-up to leadership of the Party, and has claimed that the Jewish state of Israel was behind the recent claims of antisemitism made against the Party.
The suspension came after a leaked conversation by Willsman stated that some of the Labour Party members who were pushing antisemitism claims were working “indirectly with the [Israeli] embassy”, and that it is these members, who are linked to the Israeli Government, “whipping it up all the time”.
Willsman also called the antisemitism claims, which has caused the Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into the Party two days before his suspension, “total lies”.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, the prevailing investigatory body charged with investigating discrimination and racism among UK institutions, stated earlier this week that it would be launching a formal inquiry against the Party due to fears of the Party failing to address complains of unlawful acts committed by Party members that were believed to be antisemitic in nature.
The commission stated two reasons as to why the Party was to be formally investigated. The first reason was that the elected Labour Leadership has failed in it’s duties to offer actions that would end discrimination against Jewish Members in the Party, and the second is that the Party’s leadership has failed to address the problem of antisemitism in their party by themselves before the commission stepped in.
The Labour Party has since stated that they are “fully committed to the support, defence, and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form”.
However, many high-profile Party members have come out on social media in support of Willsman, many purporting the same conspiracy theory that had the National Executive Committee member suspended in the first place.
David Icke, an author, public speaker, and Party Member with a large following of almost 200,000 people on Twitter, posted an image of what appeared to be an image supporting Willsman’s conspiracy about Israel infiltrating the Party’s leadership.
Another influential account with over 10,000 followers, who goes by the name of “True Labour”, uses a video of Labour frontrunner Tom Watson singing a Jewish Song to the political group “Labour Friends of Israel” to sarcastically imply that Israel has been lobbying the Labour Party to “falsely” provide allegations towards socialist Party Members.
The Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, a left-wing publication, also referred to the recent allegations as “weaponizing antisemitism” in a form of gas-lighting. The Canary was mentioned last year as one of the main publications that were pushing anti-semitic agendas and has been referred to by the left-wing Guardian Columnist Owen Jones as dangerous to the left through it’s proliferation of conspiracy theories.
It would be wrong to suggest that the labour Party does not have any issue with antisemitism, just as it would be wrong to suggest that the Conservative Party has no issue with Islamophobia. However, what is wrong, is to suggest that the Conservative Party’s Islamophobia negates the need for the left to also address it’s own shortcoming and biases, and few biases have existed within Socialist circles longer than the question of Judaism. Sub-cultures of the Labour Party have begun to consider conspiracy theories, mimicking those found in much darker periods of history, to justify and avoid questioning the potentially discriminatory nature of recent political campaigns, where any dissenting opinions are simply considered to be under the employment of an opposing entity.
The only question left for the Labour Party to answer, however, is how it will combat the disenfranchisement of Jewish Party Members and the rise of this form of thinking in the future.