Analysis Breaking comment Exclusive

Exclusive: furious Unite member slams Graham team’s dismissal of Gaza genocide

Reply from Graham’s official email address describes email about suffering of Gaza’s people as ‘totally inaccurate’

Brighton Unite member Anne Mitchell Anne Mitchell has reacted with justified fury after a member of general secretary Sharon Graham’s team wrote a rude and dismissive reply to Ms Mitchell’s email to to Graham about the union’s appalling response to Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

Mitchell wrote, in a personal capacity, about Unite’s asymmetrical treatment of the deaths of Palestinian civilians compared to Israelis and the complete lack of support shown by the union’s national leadership – a stark contrast to the solidarity and practical support shown by branches and regions.

In reply, she was told in a brusque, unsigned two-line email that her comments about the situation in Gaza and Unite’s response were ‘totally inaccurate’ and told ‘Maybe read what she’s said and done’ (which appears to be nothing, at least nothing positive) ‘before sending emails that seem to be ill-informed.

The exchange is shown below:

From: Anne Mitchell
Date: 25 October 2023 at 21:10:31 BST
To: “Graham, Sharon”
Cc: “Cartmail, Gail” , “O’Donnell-Savage, Max”, “Garner, Hayley” “Middleton, Bob” “Cox, Simon” “Carpenter, Sarah”
Subject: Re: Emergency EC mtg Palestine

How dare you respond to me in such a cavalier and disrespectful manner and to do so without even having the courtesy to sign your missive. If you are writing on behalf of the General Secretary, the very least I expect is an acknowledgment of the serious issues I have raised.
If I were in any doubt about the General Secretary’s leadership and attitude to members your response on her behalf speaks volumes.
Anne Mitchell

On 25 Oct 2023, at 20:20, Graham, Sharon wrote:

The GS is on disputes . Your email is totally inaccurate . Maybe read what she has said and done before sending emails that seem to be ill-informed . GS OFFICF TEAM

Sent from my iPhone

On 25 Oct 2023, at 20:09, Anne Mitchell wrote:

EXTERNAL SENDER. Do not open any links or attachments unless you were expecting them from this sender. DO NOT provide your username or password.

As a unite member I am deeply disappointed and appalled at Unite’s response to the tragedy unfolding in Palestine.

The statement issued was a travesty. You ‘condemn unreservedly’ the attack by Hamas while only ‘deplore’ what has happened to Palestinians since. Unite has a policy of support for Palestine and should be offering its unequivocal support, particularly given the genocide and slaughter currently taking place in Gaza.

The General Secretary’s lack of leadership appears to have resulted in Unite’s shameful acceptance of the weaponisation of AS to protect Israel from legitimate criticism and to silence Palestinian voices.

Why has Unite not mobilised for and called out members to attend the demonstrations?
Why has Unite not challenged the LP to demand a ceasefire and to end immediately its complicity in apartheid and genocide?

If Unite is serious in its support for Palestine, as policy dictates, the statement issued should have contained an unequivocal expression of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice, equality and human rights. It should have contained the demand for an immediate ceasefire and protection from the wholesale slaughter and genocide in Gaza . It should have contained the demand for an end to occupation, ethnic cleansing and settler violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It should have contained a condemnation of Israel’s continuing violations of international law and the Geneva conventions and a demand for immediate sanctions for its failure to comply.

Many members are deeply disillusioned at what we see as a total failure in leadership in our union. Thousands of Palestinians are being slaughtered and displaced while you do nothing. Your failure to mobilise members for the demonstrations is inexcusable. To allow spurious allegations of ‘Anti-Semitism’ to be used to justify Israel’s genocidal attacks, ethnic cleansing, displacement and murder of civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem is deeply shameful.

I hope you will reconsider your response to date and take action as members require.
Anne Mitchell

Sharon Graham appears to have been silent on the slaughter of Gazan civilians, but she has been active in trying to prevent a show of solidarity with Palestinians by the union, sending proxies to try to cancel a Palestinian solidarity fringe event at Labour’s conference earlier this month. Outraged members and officials have demanded that she follow union policy and support Palestinians against Israeli occupation, apartheid and violence.

Graham has also banned showings of the film ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ and Asa Winstanley’s forensic book ‘Weaponising Anti-Semitism: how the Israel Lobby brought down Jeremy Corbyn’, to the disgust of many members, in her apparent cosiness with the ardently pro-Israel (and war-crime supporting) Keir Starmer.

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