Conspiracy Theories Proliferate in Labour
Manfred Gerstenfeld and Irene Kuruc
Conspiracy theories can usually be found in environments where antisemitism is substantially present. The classic most extreme case — a fallacy originating from Tzarist Russia – is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Many extreme antisemitic conspiracy theories flourish in the Arab world.
In the publications about the antisemitism scandal in the UK Labour party, a slew of conspiracy theories by elected party members have come to the fore. Labour’s leader since 2015, Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathizer, supporter of Holocaust distorters, anti-Israel inciter and part-time antisemite.
He has also promoted conspiracy theories about Israel. Corbyn was interviewed in 2012, by the Iranian propaganda outlet PressTV. Corbyn commented there on a terrorist attack at an Egyptian Army base in the Sinai Peninsula. Sixteen Egyptian soldiers were killed. The Labour leader suggested, that Israel was behind the attack because it had an interest in increased violence in the Sinai and a destabilization of the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Corbyn said: “In whose interests is it to kill Egyptians other than Israel, concerned about the growing closeness of relationships between Palestine and the new Egyptian government. He added: “I suspect the hand of Israel in this whole process of destabilization.”1
In 2010, Corbyn spoke at a meeting of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in London. He mentioned the shooting of Turkish activists on a ship of the Gaza flotilla by Israeli commanders. He remarked that British MPs made speeches in parliament on this issue with a pre-prepared script. Corbyn said that he was sure that then Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor wrote it saying: “They all came with same key words. It was rather like reading a European document looking for buzz-words. And the buzz-words were: Israel’s ‘need for security, the extremism of the people on one ship and the existence of Turkish militants on the vessel.’” The Daily Mail checked transcript of the Commons debate in question and was unable to find any evidence that these buzz-words were used by MPs. 2 3
Corbyn never apologized for these fallacies. Some lesser Labour officials did so for the conspiracy theories they promoted about fake issues including Jewish world control and terrorism. Mohammad Pappu, a local councilor in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, had been praised by Corbyn for his help to create a “fair, just and decent society.” It was found that Pappu shared messages on Facebook in which he accused Britain of attacking Syria “to install a Rothschild bank.” 4 He had also shared posts on social media which claimed that Israel had staged 9/11, the London terrorist bombings and the Paris terrorist attacks.5
Labour councilor, Irfan Mohammed from London Lambeth, posted in December 2015 on his Facebook page, “Jews working in the World Trade Center received a text message before the incident, ‘do not come to work on September 11th.’” When this was exposed he resigned his post as councilor and apologized for the conspiracy theories he had spread.6 7
In 2017 John Clarke, a city councilor and prospective Labour parliamentary candidate, posted a text from a far right website on which he commented that it contained a great deal of truth. It said that the “Rothschilds have used usury alongside modern Israel as an imperial instrument to take over the world and all of its resources, including you and I.”8
Andy Slack, a Labour city councilor in Chesterfield shared:, “The modern state of Israel was created by the Rothschilds, not God and what they are doing to the Palestinian people now is exactly what they intend for the whole world.” He later apologized.9
The trade union leader, Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commerical Services Union (PCS), is an avid supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. While referring to the antisemitism row within Labour he told a conference that it was possible “that Israel could have created a story that doesn’t ‘exist’ in order to distract attention from atrocities.”10 Serwotka had been expelled from Labour in the 1990’s as an extreme leftist but was allowed to rejoin after Corbyn became its leader.
Ian Hilpus, a former BBC producer and Corbyn supporter, wrote about Corbyn that the Zionists are “part of a conspiracy to undermine the most honest man in politics today.”11 He posted this on a Facebook group called We Support Jeremy Corbyn, that has 70,000 members.
Where conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel proliferate, others are also attacked. Andrew Murray, policy advisor to Corbyn suggested in an article that the British security services were undermining Corbyn.1213
It is difficult to out-conspire Mendy Richards, selected as the prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for the constituency seat of Worcester. She was banned from bringing claims to the court without the judge’s permission after she made nonsensical accusations against the security services, the Metropolitan Police, the army, the postal service, her water company, her gas, electricity and broadband providers and so on.14 The above examples illustrate one more facet of hatemongering in Labour.