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Labour probe into member who threatened to ‘punch’ Israel supporters

Robert Atkinson, who said 'Ken Livingstone was the last progressive who could be bold and direct', apologised for comments about Zionists over Whatsapp.

Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn
Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour is looking into claims a a member threatened to ‘punch’ anyone who said it is antisemitic to denounce Israel as an apartheid state.

Chelsea and Kensington Labour member Robert Atkinson has come to the attention of the party over a series of remarks, including claiming “Ken Livingstone was the last progressive who could be bold & direct”.

It was reported in the Spectator  that he is alleged to have said in a Whatsapp message, Labour “allowed the Zionists to run rings round us for far too long’ and that he would ‘punch’ anyone who described as ‘antisemitic for denouncing Israel as an apartheid state.’”

It is understood, the party is looking into the matter.

Robert’s tweet

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Robert Atkinson told Jewish News: “I can only apologise for the 2018 WhatsApp message, which I regret. I can’t find the WhatsApp conversation and therefore can’t see the context in which it was written but I can offer no justification, only an apology.”

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