A Scottish Labour party activist has been sacked from his union after he was alleged to have breached the IHRA definition of antisemitism by accusing Israel of “inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust”.
Pete Gregson, who also faces disciplinary action by Labour, from which he is suspended, was the only GMB union shop steward in the 24,000-strong workforce of NHS Lothian.
Gregson claims that blog posts attacking “Israeli apartheid” and activities including signing a petition stating “Israel is a racist endeavour” were not antisemitic.
He also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having “re-written the GMB rule book, along with everyone else’s”.
Gregson added that he is taking legal advice and will fight the dismissal in court and challenge the accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism, and that he has the backing of Neturei Karta Rabbi Ahron Cohen.
He has instructed Glasgow solicitors Legal Spark on this matter and is fundraising for his legal costs.
Gregson claims that the complaint was initiated by Rhea Wolfson, whom he described as “a self-declared Zionist high in the Jewish Labour Movement”, who is herself a GMB Organiser.
Gregson said: “The GMB are expelling me for anti-Semitism. According to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, I am a Jew-hater. What I actually said was that Israel was a racist endeavour. I also said that Israel tends to exaggerate the importance of the Holocaust for its own political ends.
“For the record, I am a Holocaust educator; I have studied it at length; I want everyone to know about it; I studied it in Berlin just last summer. However, Israel has a tendency as a nation state to ignore the other factors involved in the persecution of Jews.”
He added that “the irony is that Israel now persecutes the minorities, especially the Arabs, living within its borders. Most especially in Gaza. And so the racism that Jews suffered during the war is now practised by many Israeli Jews themselves.”