Algemeiner.com by Benjamin Kerstein Thurs., June 25, 2020
The UK Labour party’s shadow education secretary was fired on Thursday after she tweeted and praised an interview with a British actress who asserted that Israel was responsible for police brutality against minorities in the US.
A spokesperson for Labour leader Keir Starmer (pic below) announced the axing of Rebecca Long-Bailey (pic above) with statement saying, “The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.”
“As leader of the Labour party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority,” the statement added. “Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.”
Long-Bailey tweeted an interview in The Independent with far-left British TV star Maxine Peake, a former communist, who said, “Systemic racism is a global issue. 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 also noted that Peake was “supposed to be in Palestine still, liaising with young activists.”
The Independent itself repudiated Peake’s accusation, writing in a correction, “While it is true that US law enforcement officials have travelled to Israel for training, there has been no suggestion that this training involved the tactics referred to in the article.”
Referring to the interview, Long-Bailey tweeted, “Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond.”
Following criticism, Long-Bailey explained, “I retweeted Maxine Peake’s article because of her significant 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.”
After her firing was announced, Long-Bailey tweeted that Starmer’s office had approved the initial “clarification of my retweet,” but she was later told to take it down.
“I could not do this in good conscience without the issuing of a press statement of clarification,” she noted. “I had asked to discuss these matters with Keir before agreeing what further action to take, but sadly he had already made his decision.”
Top UK Jewish groups praised Starmer’s move.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl thanked Starmer for “backing his words with actions on antisemitism.”