The JC had not, it seems, had any problem with Ms Bolton until her elevation to the NEC, which suggests some post-poll dirt-digging may be under way. So what has angered Lee Harpin and his pals? “Labour probes new NEC member following 'Israel apartheid state' posts … Momentum-backed Gemma Bolton wrote: 'If I run the risk of getting suspended for calling Israel an apartheid state then so be it. Suspend me’”.
That’s the problem? Having an opinion? Tell us more. “Labour has launched an investigation into social media posts by a newly elected member of the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) … Gemma Bolton was one of five left-wing candidates backed by the Momentum organisation”. And that is bad how, exactly?
Still on the nudges and winks, we are told “a series of social media posts shown to the JC revealed the Mid-Sussex Labour Party member’s hardline views on Israel and her support for the deselection of MPs seen as being disloyal to former leader Mr Corbyn … In another tweet the following month she expressed her support for boycotting goods from Israel - writing ‘BDS works’, accompanied by three clapping emoji’s”. Spurious apostrophe there.
So what is the complaint? Here, the JC finally gives the game away. “Asked to comment on Ms Bolton’s postings, a Labour Party spokesperson said: ‘The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.’”
Ms Bolton is being accused by someone of anti-Semitism. So where is it? Let’s consider the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.
But what Ms Bolton has done is make a criticism of the state of Israel. And the IHRA also tells us “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. Perhaps the complaint relies on this from the IHRA: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. But here a problem enters.
Ms Bolton is not denying anyone their right to self-determination. Now, I’m not going to comment further on her assertion. But the impression is given that anyone criticising the state of Israel, and/or expressing support for the BDS movement, is being targeted, and painted as if they are indulging in anti-Semitic behaviour.
Still, it keeps Lee Harpin in gainful employment, so that’s all right, then.
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