2020 07 Editorial 1 – Starmer Sacks Rebecca Long-Bailey

Starmer Sacks RBL

Keir Starmer’s sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey is an ominous sign for the prospects of the Labour Party. Ms Long-Bailey had endorsed an opinion that obnoxious Israeli police practices, much used against Palestinians, had been adopted by US police forces. No-one disputes either that Israeli security forces employ such practices or that the Israelis give US police forces seminars on policing. What remains in dispute is whether there is a direct causal link between the seminars and the US police practices.

There can be no doubt that ‘knee on the neck’ policing is inhuman and carries risk of serious damage to the apprehended person.  We are not aware that this practice is in use anywhere outside Israel and the USA.  It cannot be condoned by any Labour Party worthy of its salt, wherever it takes place.

When Labour adopted new rules about anti-Semitism, its advocates said it did not prevent legitimate criticism of the actions of the Zionist State. What Ms Long-Bailey endorsed was not a criticism of anything Jewish, but of brutal policing methods common to Israel and the USA. That Keir Starmer expels her from the Shadow Cabinet on such spurious grounds indicates that he rules out any criticism of Israel, however outlandish its actions. In fact, the action highlights the fact that he has not condemned Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Starmer said definitely in a TV interview that Ms Long-Bailey is an anti-Semite. Yet he has not expelled her from the party, and he would have done, if he stood by his characterisation of her as an anti-Semite. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that he slandered her for some other purpose.

It seems that any principled stance on Israel is to be taken as an opportunity to purge the Party of its left wing.