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Fri, 14 August 2020

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Labour councillor suggests Israeli secret service plotting to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning election

Labour councillor suggests Israeli secret service plotting to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning election
3 min read

Labour has been hit by a fresh anti-Semitism row after a councillor suggested Mossad is plotting to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.

Mary Lockhart made the accusation after three Jewish newspapers published a joint front page article condemning Labour over anti-Semitism.

According to The Courier, the Fife councillor wrote on Facebook: "If the purpose is to generate opposition to anti-Semitism, it has backfired spectacularly.

"If it is to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, it is unlikely to succeed, and is a shameless piece of cynical opportunism.

"And if it is a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government pledged to recognise Palestine as a state, it is unacceptable interference in the democracy of Britain."

Former Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty told The Courier he would be making a formal complaint about the comments.

He said: "If you even suggest that British Jews are agents of the Israeli secret service that is an anti-Semitic trope and you have no place in the Labour Party."

Paul Masterson, the Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, said: "For a Scottish Labour councillor to claim that Britain's leading Jewish newspapers, and by extension the British Jews who work for them, are acting as agents for the Israeli secret service to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10 is ignorant, offensive and horrifying. 

“These comments are totally unacceptable and demonstrate precisely why the Jewish community has lost so much faith in Labour. There can no longer be any complacency within Scottish Labour that their party's issues with anti-Semitism stop at the border.

"There should be no doubt that Ms Lockhart's remarks are anti-Semitic and demonstrate that she is unfit to hold public office."

The row is a further blow to Labour's attempts to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks.

Labour councillor Damien Enticott was suspended on Friday after it emerged he had shared a Facebook post claiming Jews drink blood and sexually abuse children.

That followed days of controversy over Labour's decision not to fully implement the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, along with its examples.

Labour says its new code "expands on and contextualises" the IHRA text, and insists it has only taken issue with "one half of one of the IHRA's 11 examples" concerning criticism of Israel.

However, four Shadow Cabinet members are among those who have called on the party to implement the IHRA guidelines in full.

Speaking on Friday, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "I think that along with many other organisations and institutions the Labour Party should accept the international definition of anti-Semitism, and the examples.”

In a statement on Friday, a Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour party take all complaints of anti-Semitism seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

"Complaints about anti-Semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."

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