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Thu, 2 July 2020

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Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey distances herself from article claiming ‘Israeli secret services’ taught George Floyd police to kneel on people’s necks

Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey distances herself from article claiming ‘Israeli secret services’ taught George Floyd police to kneel on people’s necks

The shadow minister has rowed back on her support for the interview

2 min read

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been forced to clarify her support for an article which claimed police responsible for the death of George Floyd had recieved training in lethal tactics from the "Israeli secret services".

The Shadow Education Secretary sparked anger after she endorsed an interview with actor Maxine Peake in which she claimed US police had been trained to kneel on people's necks by Israeli authorities.

Speaking about the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police, Ms Peake, who was a vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, told The Independent that the force had learned the controversial tactic in "seminars" carried out in Israel.

She said: "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services."

The article had initially said the claim was supported by Amnesty International.

But it was subsequently clarified to say that the charity had raised concerns about the wider policy and there was no evidence this training included the neck-kneeling tactic.

Ms Long-Bailey had initially tweeted her support for the piece, saying "Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond".

But following criticsm on social media, she said: "I retweeted Maxine Peake's article because of her signigicant achievements and because the thrust of her argument is to stay in the Labour Party.

"It wasn't intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article."

Meanwhile, Ms Peake also used the interview to slam those who had refused to back Labour at the last election over concerns about Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

She said: "Those people who were normally Labour supporters who felt they couldn’t vote Labour?

"Well I’m sorry, they voted Tory as far as I’m concerned."

Fellow Labour MP Kate Osborne had also shared the article but later deleted her Tweet.

The Labour Party have been approached for comment.

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