Posts Tagged ‘Rosa Doherty’

Asa Winstanley Suspended from Labour Party Charged with ‘Anti-Semitism’

March 12, 2019

Asa Winstanley, a journalist with the pro-Palestinian website, The Electronic Intifada, has become yet another casualty in the Labour right’s attempts to silence critics of Israel. He was suspended from the party because of a Tweet he posted, which said

Israeli embassy proxy the JLM confirms it was responsible for the referencing of Labour to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supposed “institutional antisemitism”.

Shameless sabotage of the party.

This is what Israel terms “lawfare”

https://electronicintifada.net/tags/lawfare

Like other members of the party, who have similarly been suspended and smeared as anti-Semites, Winstanley only knew of this after it was published by the Jewish Chronicle, which also chose to reveal Winstanley’s private details. A hack from the Chronicle, Rosa Donerty, posted

It is understood that Asa Winstanley is suspended from Labour party pending investigation.

to which Winstanley commented that

The fact that a Jewish Chronicle journalist is claiming to be the first to know information, which would, if true, be confidential indicates attempts to politicise and compromise Labour’s disciplinary process.   

And, as you might expect, the abuse started. Someone calling himself ‘Dr. Gonzo’ responded in classy fashion with

F**k off you anti-Semitic piece of s**t. Go play with the traffic you insufferable racist c**t.

Ali Abunimah’s article about this mentions that two years ago in 2017, lawyers from the Jewish Labour Movement, which has close ties with the Israeli embassy, tried to shut him down by threatening legal action.

See: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/labour-party-investigates-electronic-intifada-journalist

Mike states in his piece about this latest vile attack on a critic of Israel that it resembles his own experience. He only heard that he had been suspended when someone phoned him up about it from the Welsh paper The Western Mail. Mike also agrees with Winstanley that the disclosure of the information to a third party may be a breach of the Data Protection Act. Mike’s currently taking the Party to court, and this is very definitely going to be a part of his case. And yes, Mike has also suffered vile abuse following the Labour party’s actions. Mike also makes the point that although the party describes its investigations procedure as quasi-judicial, it has no legal validity. This means that the party can be sued by members or former members, who have suffered harm to their reputations after their treatment by the party.

The Electronic Intifada’s article states that the complaints procedure was expected to become fairer with the appointment of Jenny Formby. It hasn’t. Mike concludes

But then, it seems the attitude of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee and complaint-handling “compliance unit” really hasn’t changed in the nearly two years since my case began.

They still treat the people who pay their wages with nothing but contempt.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/12/labour-investigation-of-asa-winstanley-shows-it-is-still-abusing-rank-and-file-members/

I’m not surprised that the Labour party has accused Winstanley of anti-Semitism. As the Electronic Intifada’s article on him says, he’s been with them since 2015, and has appeared frequently on the various alternative news media discussing and commenting on Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians, and the Israel lobby’s attempts to silence opposition and dissent, with other journalists and activists. In a way, I’m just surprised that it took this long to get round to him.

I suspect the tweet about the Jewish Labour Movement being a front for the Israeli embassy got him into trouble because, as last Friday’s piece in the I by the United Synagogue’s Richard Verber shows, the Israel lobby is claiming that accusations that Jewish or other organisations are funded by Israel is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. In some cases, it may well be. But the Jewish Labour Movement was founded in 2015, as its leader, Jeremy Newmark admitted in 2016, in order to fight opposition to Israel. It has strong ties to the Israeli embassy, as does Labour Friends of Israel, whose chair, Joan Ryan, hobnobbed nearly every day with disgraced conspirator Shai Masot. And six of the original eight founders of The Independent Group were members of the LFI, and they included that organisation’s chair. Which means that Ruth George was quite right when she tweeted that she wouldn’t blame anyone for suspecting that they were funded by the Israelis.

The accusation also shows how fake and contrived these accusations of anti-Semitism are. I’ve read many articles by Winstanley and the other journos at the Electronic Intifada, and absolutely none of them have been genuinely anti-Semitic in the real, legal sense of of expressing or trying to provoke hatred of Jews as Jews. Indeed, I believe from the tenor of the articles that the opposite is true. The articles have always been very well informed and precisely worded, so that the object of criticism has been the Israeli state and right-wing politicians, activists and Israeli racism in general. But never Jews or the Israelis as a people.

Which is why I’ve no doubt that the JLM is trying to silence him now. He’s too well-informed, accurate and reliable, and definitely not an anti-Semite. I wish Mr Winstanley every success in dealing with this vile calumny and give him my full and staunch support, as I do with everyone like him – Mike, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni, Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone. May they get re-instated soon, their names cleared, and those who besmirch them exposed and thrown out instead.