When anti-Semitism is weaponised to silence criticism of Israel

The anti-Semitism “crisis” consuming the UK Labour party is largely an attempt to silence serious criticism of Israel IMHO. I was asked to comment on just one angle of this story by Phil Miller in the UK newspaper The Morning Star:

Labour has been labelled “undemocratic” after the party revoked a press pass for a leading journalist on Israel-Palestine.

Asa Winstanley, an investigative reporter for Electronic Intifada, successfully applied for a pass to attend Labour’s annual conference in Brighton this September.

But just weeks after being told his application was successful, Labour’s press team apparently performed a U-turn and told him he was no longer welcome at the event.

The move came days after the government-funded Community Safety Trust (CST), run by convicted fraudster Gerald Ronson, published a report singling out Mr Winstanley’s critical coverage of anti-semitism allegations in the Labour Party.

The CST said that Electronic Intifada was “the single most popular website for article shares about the subject of anti-semitism, the Labour Party and Israel/Palestine,” generating nearly four times more online engagement than the Guardian.

Mr Winstanley’s exposure of links between the Israeli embassy and the Jewish Labour Movement was particularly criticised by the CST for fuelling “a classic ‘dual loyalty’ trope,” although it found no factual errors in his reporting.

Now a fellow journalist has come to Mr Winstanley’s defence, calling on Labour to reverse its decision.

Antony Loewenstein, Jerusalem-based independent journalist and author of My Israel Question, told the Morning Star: “This is yet another disturbing — yet unsurprising — development in the desperate attempt to silence or deter robust journalists who dare to challenge the largely false allegations of anti-semitism levelled against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

“Anti-semitism is a scourge and must be fought, but it appears that cynical forces within the Labour Party are keen to continue defaming anybody who both challenges the weaponisation of anti-semitism and condemns Israeli abuses in occupied Palestine.”

He added: “Asa Winstanley has spent years carefully and doggedly documenting these trends and for this he should be celebrated.

“The Labour Party must reverse this absurd and undemocratic decision.”

This afternoon Labour stood by its position and said another Electronic Intifada journalist has been accredited.

It is understood to have barred Mr Winstanley because his membership of the Party was suspended earlier this year.

However this does not explain why Mr Winstanley was initially told his application for a press pass was successful in July despite already being under suspension.