Labour Friends of Israel has questioned whether a top QC appointed to help deal with Labour’s anti-Semitism cases is the right man for the job “given his apparent sympathies for Jeremy Corbyn’s world view”.
The parliamentary group were reacting to news of Gordon Nardell’s appointment as Labour’s in-house Counsel on Friday and his subsequent endorsement by an activist being investigated for anti-Semitism.
Elleanne Green, a moderator of the Palestine Live Facebook group, which contained several anti-Semitic messages from members, tweeted her support for Nardell, describing him as “a non-Zionist Jew” and “a brilliant mind” who she had copied into her letter to the Labour Party last week.
She also described long-time Labour supporter as “a man I like and trust” but LFI queried his suitability for overseeing the legal aspects of Labour’s disciplinary backlog, many cases of which involved allegations of anti-Semitism.
“We are concerned that, given his apparent sympathies with Jeremy Corbyn’s world view, far-left associations and the endorsement he has received from those behind the appalling Palestine Live Facebook group, Mr Nardell may not be best placed to oversee the effort to rid the Labour party of anti-Semitism,” said an LFI spokesman.
“However, swift and tough action against the many anti-Semites who appear to have made Labour their home will help to dispel those concerns.”
In response to concerns about the new appointee, a Labour spokesperson told Jewish News: “Gordon Nardell is an eminent and highly respected QC, who specialises in constitutional, public and human rights law. He will continue to be bound by his professional standards and all of the obligations of the Bar Standards Board Code of Conduct.”
Green is being questioned for comments in the Facebook group, revealed in recent research by pro-Israel blogger David Collier. He said she shared articles including one suggesting Israeli intelligence service Mossad was behind the Paris terrorist attacks, another suggesting that Mossad was behind 9/11 and others suggesting the Rothschild family controlled bank bosses.
Expelled Labour party member Tony Greenstein said he had received a letter from Nardell who had explained that there was no “clear and unambiguous legal definition of anti-Semitism”.
Although the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition has now been widely adopted by political parties and councils, the IHRA itself described the definition as “non-legally binding”.
The Home Affairs Select Committee recommended the IHRA definition be adopted by the Government but “with caveats,” both of which related to statements about Israel. The amendments were designed to defend free speech.