A pro-Israel activist running in a UK Labour Party election has trained with the Israeli army.
The Electronic Intifada has obtained this photo of Lenga wearing an Israeli army uniform, wrapped in an Israeli flag and carrying an assault rifle – the type of weapon carried by Israeli occupation soldiers when they enforce Israel’s military rule over Palestinians.
Sources say that Lenga once “proudly” displayed the photo on her social media.
Israel experts Dena and Daniel Shunra told The Electronic Intifada that the uniform and epaulets visible in the photo suggest that Lenga took part in Marva, a paramilitary course overseen by the Israeli army.
Video on YouTube shows Marva recruits wearing the same white shoulder epaulets and carrying rifles marked with white tape in the same fashion as Lenga’s.
Participants pay more than $1,700 to take part in the two-month course, which is run by the commercial arm of Israel’s Jewish Agency.
The Jewish Agency is the state-backed organization that has historically led Zionist efforts to colonize Palestine. Today it recruits Jewish people from around the world, offering them incentives to become Israeli settlers.
Some participants in the Marva course stay on in Israel, claiming citizenship and joining the military.
Under Israel’s racist “Law of Return,” any person in the world recognized as Jewish by Israeli authorities has the right to citizenship. This is in marked contrast to the indigenous Palestinians expelled by Israel since 1948, who are blocked from returning to their homeland with deadly force just because they are not Jewish.
Zionist movement young leader
Izzy Lenga has been immersed in the UK’s Zionist movement since she was a child.
A former leader in the Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY), she later became an officer with the campus society in Birmingham which is affiliated to the Union of Jewish Students. The UJS is funded in part by the Israeli embassy.
The FZY website states that the group views the entirety of “Eretz Yisrael” as the Jewish homeland and supports “settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.”
“Eretz Yisrael” is a Hebrew term used to describe all of historic Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as present-day Israel.
Israel’s construction of settlements in the West Bank is a war crime.
In the film she claimed that after she joined the party in 2015, she began to receive anti-Semitic abuse “every single day.” Neither Lenga nor any of the other activists in the film were identified by the BBC as Jewish Labour Movement leaders.
In 2016 at the NUS conference Lenga accused “some of my colleagues” on the national executive of anti-Semitism, saying there was “a deep rooted institutional problem” in the student movement.Her claims echoed the five-year smear campaign against the Labour Party when it was led by Jeremy Corbyn – which was then in its opening stages.
Izzy Lenga is the niece of Paul Lenga, the former Honorary Life President of the FZY.
Izzy Lenga did not reply to a request for comment. She set her Twitter account to private soon after The Electronic Intifada emailed her.
Update, 14 March: We have now uploaded our own copy of the video of Lenga denouncing the NUS conference and leadership, which you can watch above.
The copy we’d initially embedded was deleted soon after publication, by Simon Cobbs of Sussex Friends of Israel, a British group closely tied to the Israeli embassy and the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.