Labour threatened with legal action after hiring Israeli social media manager

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Labour threatened with legal action after hiring Israeli social media manager

Bindmans law firm has threatened action over the hiring of Assaf Kaplan, but others have slammed the threat as asking for anti-Israeli discrimination

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. (PA Media/Jeff Overs/BBC)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. (PA Media/Jeff Overs/BBC)

The Labour Party is being threatened with legal action over its hiring of an Israeli citizen to manage its social media.

Assaf Kaplan, an IDF veteran, is alleged to have worked for Unit 8200, the force’s cyber agency between, 2009 to 2013.

He was hired by the party to “help to move the social media listening framework of the party to be laser-focused on those we need to win over to form the next government.”

Bindmans law firm says it has been hired by a British Palestinian Labour Party member Adnan Hmidan, who called Kaplan a former spy. 

National service is mandatory in Israel for the over-18s and Kaplan previously worked for the Israeli Labor Party before starting the role with UK Labour.

But Hmidan said: “I am very concerned that the Labour Party has recruited a former Israeli spy to a position that involves monitoring the social media accounts of its members including those that are British Palestinian, supportive of Palestine or opposed to the occupation of Palestine.”

But Jonathan Turner of UK Lawyers for Israel told Jewish News: “Bindmans appear to be asking the Labour Party to discriminate against the employee because he is Israeli. 

“This would be unlawful. It is also rather odd to suggest there could be breaches of data protection at the same time as publishing a press release containing personal data about the employee.”

The Labour Party has said it does not comment on staffing matters.

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