Keir Starmer said he was not accusing Rebecca Long-Bailey of antisemitism, after sacking her for sharing an article containing a conspiracy theory.
The Labour leader told Good Morning Britain: “There was an article last week that linked the killing of George Floyd in America to Israel. It’s a link that couldn’t possibly be made out, and it’s the same-old-same-old, which is: there’s a problem anywhere in the world, point the finger at Israel. I took the view that was antisemitic.”
Rebecca had tweeted about it. I wanted her to take her tweet down straight away. That didn’t happen. And I asked her to stand down.”
This comes after actress Maxine Peake said in an interview with the Independent, “tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” She has since clarified “I was inaccurate” about the claim, and the article was amended, amid accusations of indulging in an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Asked whether he was accusing Long-Bailey of antisemitism, Starmer said: “No I’m not.”
He added he was “was very very clear” in his acceptance speech upon becoming leader, about apologising to the community for the way the party had “failed” on antisemitism.
“I said I was determined to tear it out from the roots. I didn’t just mean words. I mean actions. I do not want the Labour Party and antisemitism in the same sentence ever again. I’m determined to root it out.”
'I took the view that was antisemitic. I wanted her to take her tweet down straight away, that didn't happen.'
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 29, 2020