FRESH AIR

Keir Starmer passes his first major credibility test with the Jewish community

Jun 26, 2020 | Ariel Zohar

gettyimages-1201240566

 

Keir Starmer, the new UK Labour leader who took over from Jeremy Corbyn in April, has acted in stark contrast with his predecessor by swiftly dumping Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey from his shadow cabinet after she shared allegedly antisemitic material on Twitter.

Long-Bailey shared a tweet praising an interview with actor Maxine Peake, where Peake shared the conspiracy theory connecting the choking death of George Floyd to alleged training of US police by Israeli law enforcement. Israel has issued emphatic denials, as have police officers involved in exchange programs with Israel, and these denials have been confirmed by Amnesty International.

“Allegations that US police were taught tactics of ‘neck kneeling’ by Israeli secret services is not something we’ve ever reported and the article in question has rightly been amended to acknowledge that,” an Amnesty spokesperson told The Guardian.

This is important because biased Amnesty International articles and reports attacking US-Israeli police cooperation have long been cited as a key source by those making conspiratorial allegations that Israel is somehow responsible for US police brutality.

(For more information on how anti-Israel activists are attempting to hijack the anger at Floyd’s murder into baseless attacks on Israel and Jews, see AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro piece in the upcoming July edition of the Australia-Israel Review.)

Long-Bailey, affectionately referred to as RLB by her supporters, was effectively the spiritual successor to Corbyn and had the backing of Corbyn’s left-wing factional group Momentum in the leadership contest against Starmer. She ultimately placed second.

Praise for Starmer – as well as antisemitic brickbats

Starmer positioned himself as the unity candidate, bringing together the party’s left and right to build consensus on a way forward after UK Labour’s landslide defeat in the general election against Boris Johnson.

Starmer’s quick action in the Long-Bailey case won him praise from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The move was also strongly supported by many Labour MPs and the British Jewish Labour Movement, which welcomed the decision.

At the same time, Starmer was the subject of a vicious attack on social media by elements on the British left accusing him of being in the pay of Zionists and Jews.

In an interview in The Guardian prior to his election as Labour leader, Starmer was asked if he would be willing to take decisions unpopular with the party membership.

“Of course there have got to be difficult decisions,” he said. “I’m not going to shy away from those difficult decisions, and we’ll confront each of them as they arise”.

In contrast to Corbyn – who repeatedly refused to engage with the Jewish community on stamping out antisemitism in the British Labour Party – Starmer signed up to the Board of Deputy of British Jews’ 10 pledges to tackle antisemitism in January.

“The handling of antisemitism [in Labour] has been completely unacceptable. It has caused deep distress for the Jewish community, which we must all accept responsibility for and apologise,” Starmer said at the time.

Since his election as party leader, Starmer and his deputy leader Angela Rayner, have spent many meetings and Zoom calls listening to the concerns of mainstream British Jewry, and promising to implement reforms.  His timely sacking of Long-Bailey, without hesitation or equivocation, will likely go a long way toward testifying to the genuineness of his commitment on those front.

 

AIJAC will be hosting a briefing with former MP Joan Ryan and academic David Hirsh, both of whom quit the UK Labour party following widespread allegations of antisemitism within the party under Corbyn. Tune into the AIJAC Facebook page at 7.30 PM AEST on Monday 29 June to hear this important conversation live.

RELATED ARTICLES


Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Jun 22, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR, Resources
Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

Jun 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi briefs the press on Iran (Image: Dean Calma/Flickr)

IAEA Board rebukes Iran, Iran unplugs IAEA cameras

Jun 10, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and head of Iran's Atomic Organisation Mohammad Eslami (R) speaking to media during a visit to Bushehr nuclear power plant, in the city of Bushehr, southern Iran, 8 October 2021. (Image: EPA/AAP)

New revelations: Iran apparently spied on the UN nuclear watchdog

Jun 2, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour (Screenshot)

Al Jazeera hearts anti-Israel terrorism (continued)

May 30, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Shireen Abu Akleh

Tragedy of journalist’s death exploited to intensify conflict

May 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

(Source: Pixabay)

AIJAC welcomes Victorian swastika ban, and introduction of similar NSW legislation

Naftali Bennett (R), Yair Lapid (L) and former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (credit:Haim Tzach / GPO)

AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro and Ran Porat interviewed on Israeli political developments on ABC NewsRadio

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Image: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Israel and the UN: How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated

Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

(Source: Pixabay)

AIJAC welcomes Victorian swastika ban, and introduction of similar NSW legislation

Naftali Bennett (R), Yair Lapid (L) and former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (credit:Haim Tzach / GPO)

AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro and Ran Porat interviewed on Israeli political developments on ABC NewsRadio

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Image: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Israel and the UN: How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated

Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

SORT BY TOPICS