BBC reporter who cut off ex-chair who challenged ‘Labour antisemitism’ smear was pro-Israel activist

Jewish Telegraph article reveals Samantha Simmonds, who regurgitated false claims of antisemitism in Labour, was member of Zionist youth movement Habonim Dror

During an interview last week with BBC journalist Samantha Simmonds, former Labour constituency party chair David Williams attempted to contrast Keir Starmer’s dishonesty, mass assault on member democracy and lack of policies to help ordinary people with the democratic integrity and policy platform of former leader Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Simmond cut in to insist that Corbyn had ‘enabled antisemitism’ and cut off Williams when he pointed out the falsehood of that claim, as this clip published by the Not the Andrew Marr Show shows:

Ms Simmonds was a pro-Israel youth activist, Skwawkbox can reveal.

Many reacted with outrage, challenging Simmonds’s insistence on the antisemitism claim, when it has been thoroughly discredited by leaked documents, documentaries, an array of articles – and even by Labour’s own (reluctantly-commissioned) Forde Report – as a smear by right-wing ‘Labour’ terrified of losing their privilege, and pro-Israel groups determined to oust a Labour leader with a track record of opposing Israeli oppression and apartheid, who had said he would recognise Palestinian statehood if he became Prime Minister.

A 2015 article in the Jewish Telegraph, about Simmonds meeting her future husband on a TV dating programme, notes that Simmonds, then with Sky News, was a:

former member of the Jewish youth movement Habonim Dror.

Habonim Dror was formed by the merger of two Zionist youth movements, Habonim and Dror, which translate roughly as ‘the builders’ and ‘freedom’, that predate the formation of Israel, but whose modern ideology holds ‘aliyah’, the return to Israel of ‘diaspora’ Jews, as a central tenet. While socialism remains a part of the group’s identity and it currently distances itself from the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank , its meetings feature both the Habonim Dror flag and that of Israel and Zionism, the idea that the land of Israel belongs to Jews, is central to its framework and Israeli shlichiem (delegates) are part of its decision-making structures:

An image from the Netherlands Habonim Dror website shows the importance of Israel to its ideology.

David ‘Davey’ Williams was chair of Uxbridge and South Ruislip Labour party until last week, when he resigned in disgust at the ‘unprincipled’ behaviour of the Starmer regime during the by-election in the constituency. After Labour’s disastrous performance in losing that by-election to the Tories, the Labour right has attempted to deflect blame both by attacking the ‘ULEZ’ traffic policy of London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan – a policy that Starmer directly supported until it blew up in his face – and by scapegoating Williams.

In a string of smears, particularly but not exclusively by right-wing hack Lee Harpin – the author of a string of libels against left-wing figures during the Corbyn leadership that cost the Jewish Chronicle a fortune – have pinned the by-election defeat on both Williams’s left-wing politics and on his ‘failure’ to knock on doors during the campaign, even though Wiliams had explained to Labour’s candidate at the outset of the campaign that he can no longer go door-knocking because of the trauma and anxiety he suffers since a near-fatal assault in his home left him permanently blind in one eye.

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