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EXCL: Senior Labour Figure Suspended For Saying Israeli Embassy Is Behind Anti-Semitism
31 May 2019, 09:19 | Updated: 31 May 2019, 12:07
A senior Labour party official has been suspended after LBC exclusively revealed a recording of him making a series of anti-Jewish claims.
Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s governing National Executive Committee, claimed that the Israeli embassy is whipping up anti-Semitism claims to attack Labour.
He also alleged Labour Party members opposed to Jeremy Corbyn work indirectly for the Israeli embassy and that the embassy instructed 68 rabbis to say that anti-Semitism within the Labour Party was "widespread and severe”.
In a recording obtained by LBC, Mr Willsman can he heard saying: "It's almost certain who is behind all this anti-Semitism against Jeremy. Almost certainly, it was the Israeli embassy.
"They caught somebody in the in the Labour Party who it turns out in an agent in the embassy."
Mr Willsman made these comments in January when he met the American-Israeli author Tuvia Tenenbom, who was in the UK to write a book about the British.
It was a chance meeting in Oxford but Mr Tenenbom took the opportunity to see whether Mr Willsman could broker an interview with Jeremy Corbyn.
But when the writer pressed Mr Willsman for proof the Israeli embassy was directing attacks against the Labour party, the Labour official went further. He said there were Labour members inside the party working indirectly for the embassy itself.
He said: "The people that are in the Labour Party doing it are people who are linked. One of them works indirectly with the embassy. So obviously, I wouldn't be bothered to find out, but my guess would be they are the ones whipping it up all the time."
Willsman is a powerful member of the NEC and he heads the hard-left and influential Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. NEC members will be responsible for responding to the EHRC's investigation into allegations of institutional racism within the Labour Party. And Willsman has form.
Last year he accused 68 rabbis who said anti-Semitism within the Labour was "widespread a severe” as Donald Trump fanatics. He apologised for any offence caused and was allowed to continue to stand for Labour’s NEC after a warning from then general secretary Jennie Formby that any repeat of the slurs would result in formal disciplinary action.
Nevertheless, he still believes the demand by 68 rabbis that Labour confronts its problem with anti-Semitism problem part of a campaign to attack Mr Corbyn.
LBC spoke to Mr Tenenbom yesterday and asked him about the meeting: "It was shocking. It was surprising, but that's the reality.
"He's a nice guy, he has a great sense of humour, he's knowledgable. But Like Jeremy Corbyn - I met Jeremy and he's also a nice guy, very fatherly - but they suffer from a disease of really hating the Jews."
LBC has contacted Mr Willsman for a response, but have been unable to speak to him.
A spokesman for the Labour party said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.
"All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."
Mike Katz from the Jewish Labour Movement told LBC: "Willsman is on the NEC, the party's main governing body. He rules on cases of anti-Semitism.
"This is what we mean when we say that the party has a deep seated institutional racism against Jews."
Labour MP Wes Streeting added: "This is pretty jaw-dropping stuff, even by Peter Willsman's standards.
"This is a member of our National Executive Committee. He has form when it comes to anti-Semitism and downplaying and dismissing various concerns. I'm in absolutely no doubt he should go.
"Bear in mind, the National Exexutive Committee is the governing body of the Labour Party. It's the body that is ultimately responsible for the governance of the party, for responding to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has launched this unprecedented inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party."