Tom Watson has revealed that he raised his concerns with the party after his fellow Labour MP Grahame Morris shared a video wrongly claiming to show Israeli soldiers beating up Palestinian children.
The deputy leader also criticised Morris for “amplifying misinformation” in a statement issued today.
Watson said: “Following a number of complaints relating to the distribution of fake news by a Labour Party member, and the amplification of the misinformation by my colleague Grahame Morris MP, I shared the concerns with the chief whip and general secretary of the Labour Party.
“Disciplinary matters are in their hands but I am sure they are in no doubt of the offence caused.
“I understand after a couple of attempts, Mr Morris has now made a full apology.
“Once again, I advise all Labour Party members, no matter what their status, to observe the social media code in our rule book and to exercise tolerance and respect in their public discussions.”
Watson met with the Board of Deputies on Monday to discuss the antisemitism row in the party.
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) April 23, 2019
Morris, who is the MP for Easington, shared footage of Guatemalan soldiers abusing children, originally tweeted by the pro-Jeremy Corbyn account Rachael Swindon.
He wrote: “Marvellous, absolutely marvellous the Israeli Army, the best financed, best trained, best equipped army in the world caught on camera beating up Palestinian children for the fun of it. May God forgive them. What would Jim Royle say on an Easter Monday.”
Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: “Grahame Morris MP’s tweet was highly offensive.
“Firstly, it wrongly claimed footage of Guatemalan soldiers physically abusing children was in fact the Israel Defence Force – then, despite having his error pointed out (including by the IDF itself), Mr Morris refused to delete the tweet.
“Secondly, his tweet also included the retweet of Rachael Swindon, a twitter account that has been censured for promoting antisemitic Rothschild conspiracy theories.
“Thirdly, Mr Morris’s tweet also carried inaccuracies about the strength of the IDF, a blatant misrepresentation of the Israeli military and an exaggeration of its defensive capabilities.
“And fourthly, by saying “May God forgive them”, he appears to have invoked the Easter blood libel.
“We understand that Mr Morris has now apologised for sharing the footage – but he should have apologised and removed his tweet as soon as his error was pointed out. His delayed actions look insincere and forced.”