blog-lobby-watch-JEFF-HAYNES-AFP.jpg

(Jeff Haynes / Agence France Presse)

Former Israel lobby spin doctor aims for seat in UK parliament

Tomorrow, a Labour party branch in the Midlands of England will hold an election. Party members will decide on their candidate for Member of Parliament in the 2015 general election.

One of those aiming for Stoke North, a safe Labour seat, is Ruth Smeeth.

On her flashy new website, and talking to the local press, Smeeth portrays a left-wing veneer as a “proud anti-fascist.” She is the deputy director of anti-racist group Hope Not Hate.

But unmentioned in any of this is her role in the Israel lobby’s end of the PR industry, or as a source of intelligence the US embassy has considered one to “strictly protect.”

Israel lobby links

In its last issue, parapolitical magazine Notes From the Borderland detailed Smeeth’s history as part of an huge and detailed article on “How Far Right Labour Hijacked the Hope Not Hate Campaign.”

This week they published some of their research into Smeeth’s career on their website, stating “the following leaflet has been distributed far and wide in the constituency.” The editorial collective are arguing that Labour members should not select Smeeth.

Among other issues, the leaflet argues that if Smeeth “becomes your MP do you really think she will be genuinely open-minded on important foreign policy matters such as war and peace … or subordinate to the whims of those making policy in Washington and Tel Aviv rather than Tunstall [an area of Stoke-on-Trent]?”

Starting in 2005, Smeeth did a stint as director of public affairs and campaigns as BICOM, the British Israel Communications and Research Centre. There she was reportedly charged with strengthening the group’s relations with the “Foreign Office, party leaders, think-tanks and academia.”

Formed in 2000, BICOM’s links have historically included some in the right-wing of the Labour party, including former CEO Lorna Fitzsimons.

The group arranges for influential figures such as journalists to take trips to Israel. These have included trips to the Herzliya conference, a major “security” event at which powerful business and political figures discuss how to reinforce Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Smeeth herself is listed on the conference’s website as having attended in January 2007, apparently in her BICOM capacity. Speaking that year was current prime minister, then leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 2003, with ugly racism, he told the conference that Palestinian citizens of Israel were a “demographic threat.”

US embassy links

As pointed out in the leaflet, a 2009 US embassy cable from London, revealed by Chelsea Manning and published by Wikileaks, states that Smeeth is a source they should “strictly protect.”

Speaking to the Telegraph in 2011, Smeeth admitting to being at a breakfast meeting in the embassy but said “I have no recollection of saying what has been attributed to me. I would not consider myself to be a source for the US government.”

Ruth Smeeth did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment, but this article may be updated if she does.

Update, 6 April

The local press reported yesterday that Smeeth was selected by the party and will thus stand as Labour candidate in next year’s election.

Comments

this report is being distributed through Labour Party connections as far as we are able to push it _ Thank you!

I was blocked by HnH for making an anti zionist comment on their FB page. I thought then they must be gaining zionist funding, this all makes sense now! On their Twitter profile they claim "HOPE not hate is the campaign to counter racism and fascism in elections and beyond" it seems they don't go 'beyond' our shores. Tweet your disgust @hopenothate

Seethe did win the selection, but all is not lost. The issues raised will be just as relevant when the General Election happens.

Thanks for your diligent work.

Writing from the US (where voting provides a veneer only of any kind of
"decision-making", see G. Kolko, MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN
HISTORY among others), my view of politics in the West such as the UK
has always been that MP's very rarely act independently. MP's vote party.
They do in many other so-called "democratic" nations as well. More often than not they are nominated by a party and rarely oppose it..

One is not supposed to discuss politics in these spaces since EI is a
"501c3" organization.

When I find that I am indeed powerless and can make no difference on
Palestinian issues, I withhold my vote from all candidates and parties
who respond to AIPAC/Israeli/US pressure. I personally interpret my vote
as "support". I do not expect an improved US policy. I simply refuse to
"reward" politicians or parties for following policies with which I strongly
disagree.

Incidentlally, in the state in which I live, candidates are uniformly supportive
of AIPAC/ ISRAELI/ US policies. I confess that during the last election
I made two (only two) exceptions. I do not know if I shall repeat these ezxceptions.

In Massachusetts, it goes without saying that no candidate will be elected
without following AIPAC/ ISRAEL/ US. No party or group espouses such
views. I only control my very own vote (or refusal to vote ---support). I do not
consider this "apathy" although records may count me as such.

I get many telephone calls: "Thank you for your generous support of the
Democratic Party..." (??!) I interrupt.: "Does the party condemn Israel
for its agression, coerced expulsion, ...?" Usually there is a stunned silence.
Then the caller disappears into the ethereal night.

Peter Loeb, Boston, Massachusetts USA

really good to know of these connections!

I clearly remember when Simon Wolfers mentioned this some time ago, I also contacted HnH reg: him being blocked, like Simon I also received absolutely no response from HnH.. very troubling indeed, it appears we were correct in suspecting zionist interference.

It's not surprising that people like Smeeth, who lobbies for the zionist cause, should be acceptable to the Labour Party. Since its foundation the British Labour Party has shown a cowardly opportunism when it comes to colonial questions. Its leaders* have never stood in the way of British imperial initiatives, frequently adopting a bi-partisan approach. The examples are many: Ireland, India, Palestine, Africa, Malaya, Korea, Egypt, Oman etc; Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent tragic examples of this disgraceful capitulation.

*Rank and file members of the Labour Party may protest but it is the Parliamentary Labour Party which holds the power. A democratic deficit indeed.

I read the Wikileaks cable and the term 'Strictly Protect' could equally mean keep the quote confidential, especially as it had not been released to the press.

Whilst I did not gain a favourable impression of Ruth Smeeth at the 2012 Trades Council conference in Coventry, it would be a stretch to claim her as an intelligence asset for the USA. Given that her job with BICOM was to arrange meetings and dinners with influential political figures, then it is likely she came into contact with US embassy staff.

No doubt during dinner with these people she reported in confidence Gordon Brown's views on the election date, something which confirmed what they already had from a tame journalist.

As for this issue and Ruth Smeeth's Israel connections I have heard this from another source, so she takes deserved criticism on the Israel angle but the inteligence asset claim is somewhat feeble.

I notice you do not mention her hisband's connections in BAP. The fact remains she provided intelligence to the US state and they would have concealed this but for Wikileaks. There is a feeble argument in this whole affair, but it is not the undeniable facts publicised by Notes From the Borderland, rather the position that a low grade asset like Smeeth is thereby not an asset at all.