Back in 2005, before Ruth Smeeth went into politics, she became the Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). BICOM is a (PRIVATELY FUNDED) UK-based organisation which acts to promote Israel and raise awareness of the Middle East. It publishes materials on a number of aspects of life in Israel and in the Middle East including on terrorism and UK-Israel relations and foreign policy.
BICOM has a pro-Israel advocacy arm called ‘We Believe in Israel’ who provide ‘learning materials’ for both the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the United Synagogue. The current Director for ‘We Believe in Israel’ is none other than Luke Akehurst. ‘We Believe in Israel’ are also a campaign group because, back in 2010, they petitioned the Co-op to reverse their decision to support BDS and boycott certain Israeli products. The Co-op continued to support BDS and, as a result, four US States (Arizona, New York, Florida and Illinois) decided to ban the Co-op. As far as I can tell, the Co-op still support BDS.
It’s worth noting that some of the material put out by ‘We believe in Israel’ is clearly pro-Zionist. In fact, they like to refer to Zionism as “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people” (see article linked below – ‘Zionism and the Foundation of the State of Israel’).
On 27th June 2016, disappointed with the EU referendum result, Smeeth resigned her post as Parliamentary Private Secretary in protest against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The following day we had the PLP coup when 172 MPs, apparently equally disappointed with the referendum result, signed their names to a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Two days after that we had the incident at the press conference for the Chakrabarti report, where Smeeth stormed out after being accused of colluding with the right wing media by Labour Activist, Marc Wadworth. Ironically, just 5 months later, Smeeth declared that she would actually support the triggering article 50 anyway because close to 70% of her constituents in Stoke on Trent had actually voted to leave.
In the days and months following the incident at the press conference, Smeeth gave a number of interviews to the news media, including on the Victoria Derbyshire show and with London Evening Standard, in which she claimed that she had received thousands of antisemitic and homophobic death threats on Facebook and she alleged that this was all done in the name of Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy has repeatedly said that he condemns all abuse and has called for a kinder, gentler politics. He’s also said that people who think its ok to be abusive are not genuine supporters of Jeremy’s. However, Smeeth insisted that there had been a marked increase in the number of Antisemitic attacks since Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader of the party and she demanded that he name and shame these online abusers.
In truth, apart from Ruth Smeeth and perhaps a handful of other anti-Corbyn MP’s, who appear to have been targeted, we don’t really know how many other Jewish Labour members have actually complained about being personally attacked. You have to wonder, are ordinary members complaining or is it just the anti-Corbyn members of the PLP? Also, when Ruth complains that she’s had thousands of threats, we don’t know if that’s thousands of people threatening her or just a handful of idiots who are repeatedly attacking her. One assumes though that, as the police have been called in to provide protection that the threats are severe enough to warrant further investigation, so we should to be able to get to the bottom of who might be behind these threats before long?
On another point, bearing in mind the fact that Ruth is referring to threats on social media, there’s unlikely to be any proof that these people are genuine Corbyn supporters either or, indeed, that they are even members of the Labour Party. In fact, there’s nothing to say that these people aren’t Tory supporters, or other interested parties, trying to add fuel to the theory that there has been a rise in Antisemitism within the Labour party. Surely, we should be demanding a full investigation into who these abusers are and, not being funny, we also need to know more about the people who are actually making the complaints of Antisemitism, in case they also might have an agenda or axe to grind?
One final point – does anyone have any actual stats to support the claim that there has been a ‘rise’ in antisemitism in the Labour party since Corbyn became leader, or is this just a convenient theory? I’ve tried looking for some stats but I haven’t found any yet?
WE BELIEVE IN ISRAEL
ZIONISM AND THE FOUNDATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
CO-OP BANNED FROM 4 US STATES
SMEETH STORMS OUT OF PRESS CONFERENCE FOR CHAKRABARTI REPORT
SMEETH’S WIKI PAGE