Analysis Breaking comment

Labour expels former NEC stalwart Willsman for accuracy

Left-winger was recorded telling American that antisemitism accusations were being ‘whipped up’ for political reasons – a fact no longer seriously contested and one that Starmer’s own Forde Report agrees with

Pete Willsman

Left-wing former stalwart of Labour’s national executive Pete Willsman has been expelled by the Labour party – for stating something that can no longer be seriously disputed.

Willsman was suspended in 2019 after being recorded by an American author he was talking to supposedly ‘off the record’, saying that antisemitism was being ‘whipped up’ by right-wingers for political purposes. He had earlier said, again largely accurately though the comments were widely misreported for political effect, that supporters of Donald Trump on the right of the UK Jewish community were involved in the smears and asked for evidence to support accusations of antisemitism.

In 2020, Keir Starmer was forced to commission an inquiry led by barrister Martin Forde to examine hideous factionalism, racism and misuse of funds by right-wing party figures after a leaked Labour party report exposed thousands of vile electronic communications. Among its conclusions, in language contorted to mask the one-sidedness of the phenomenon, the Forde Report found that antisemitism had indeed been ‘weaponised’ for factional political purposes.

Willsman also accused the Israeli embassy of political interference – also a fact, since embassy operative Shai Masot was expelled from the UK for exactly that before the wider issue of another country meddling in UK parliamentary politics was hastily swept under the carpet. The fact that the Israeli embassy in the US also worked with political figures to smear opponents is a matter of record – a fact condemned in the US by Jewish journalists but studiously ignored by the UK ‘mainstream’ media – so the idea that embassies in other countries wouldn’t behave similarly is either naive or wilful.

Broadcaster Al Jazeera‘s recent four-part ‘Labour Files’ documentary exposed further details of the extent of the corruption – and its earlier undercover documentary revealed the extent of the collusion between right-wing Labour party groups and the embassy, while groups at the forefront of the antisemitism allegations against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour don’t even make a secret of their close cooperation, so again Willsman was broadly accurate in his comments. Some of those groups were revealed to have warned a Starmer front-bench ally of consequences if he didn’t toe their line on the actions of Israel, so the use of the issue can hardly be said to have ended.

Keir Starmer’s own Forde inquiry agreed with Willsman, as do the facts. But as has already been seen on various occasions, facts, truth and accuracy are no defence against the Labour right’s shameless purge – nor are concepts such as natural justice, due process or evidence, particularly for those on the left and supporters of the human rights of Palestinians.

That of course is not new: Labour said explicitly in the case of the removal of the party whip from former leader Jeremy Corbyn that being correct – even in cases explicitly approved and legally protected by the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s slanted report on antisemitism in the party – would not be allowed to get in the way of concocted political machinations. Bullies, racists and alleged sex abusers get a free pass, however, as long as they’re on the political right.

If you don’t think the thought of the Keir Starmer and his factional allies running the country is frightening for UK democracy, justice and freedom of speech, you haven’t been paying attention.

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