Labour suspends councillor who accused Jewish News of working for Mossad

Labour suspends councillor who accused Jewish News of working for Mossad

Party confirms its investigating Mary Bain Lockhart after she accused this paper of working for Israel after the #UnitedWeStand front page

Mary Bain Lockhart
Mary Bain Lockhart

A councillor for the Scottish Labour Party who accused the three main Jewish Newspapers in the UK, including the Jewish News, of working on behalf of Mossad, has been suspended.

It has been confirmed that Mary Bain Lockhart is under investigation by the party over remarks made after the three papers posted a joint front page editorial last week, warning that anti-Semitism had eroded the Labour party and posed an  “existential” threat to British Jewry.

On a now-deleted post on Facebook, she wrote: “If the purpose is to generate opposition to anti-Semitism, it has backfired spectacularly. (I)f it is to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader, it is unlikely to succeed, and is a shameless piece of cynical opportunism.

“And if it is a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government pledged to recognise Palestine as a State, it is unacceptable interference in the democracy of Britain,” Mary Bain Lockhart wrote on Facebook.

“Israel is a racist State. And since the Palestinians are also Semites, it is an ant-Semitic State. It is time we stopped propitiating,” she also wrote.

Israel was repeatedly attacked in the comments to the post.

Mary’s now deleted post

A Labour Party spokesperson confirmed she is suspended and said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms. All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

The three newspapers – the Jewish News, The Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Telegraph, which has editions in many northern cities – on Wednesday all published the same editorial warning of the “existential” threat to British Jewry that a government led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose.

“We do so because the party that was, until recently, the natural home for our community has seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel,” the editorials said, referring to the Labour Party.

“The stain and shame of anti-Semitism has coursed through Her Majesty’s Opposition since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.”

Scottish politician Paul Masterson of the Conservatives told The Courier: “For a Scottish Labour councillor to claim that Britain’s leading Jewish newspapers, and by extension the British Jews who work for them, are acting as agents for the Israeli secret service to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10 is ignorant, offensive and horrifying.” He added that Lockhart’s remarks “are anti-Semitic and demonstrate that she is unfit to hold public office.”

This comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn come under fresh attack for his handling of the party’s internal row over anti-Semitism, with one of his own MPs accusing him of “supporting and defending” extremists.

Ian Austin questioned Mr Corbyn’s suitability to lead the party, days after Dame Margaret Hodge admitted confronting him over the controversy over its rules on racism targeted at Jews.

Dudley North MP Mr Austin, the son of adoptive Jewish parents, said he was “deeply ashamed” of Labour for not fully adopting a widely-backed definition of anti-Semitism set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

It comes as Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Mr Corbyn was “leading the Labour Party into a dark place of ugly conspiracy theories” which had become a “home for overt anti-Semites and anti-Semitism”.

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