Lawyers demand Labour explain hiring of Israeli spy

A photo of Assaf Kaplan from 2015, which has been scrubbed from his social media.

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A leading British human rights law firm has written to Labour demanding answers on the party’s hiring of a former Israeli spy.

Jamie Potter from Bindmans announced on Tuesday that the firm was acting on behalf of Adnan Hmidan, a British Palestinian Labour member.

“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,” Hmidan said in a statement from the law firm.

The hiring of Bindmans appears to be a precursor to legal action.

In January, The Electronic Intifada exclusively revealed that the Labour Party had hired Assaf Kaplan to help run its social media operation.

The position Kaplan was hired to fill is based in the office of party leader Keir Starmer, putting him in close proximity to Labour’s highest officials.

Kaplan has admitted online to being a “veteran” of Unit 8200, the Israeli military’s cyberwarfare division.

Unit 8200 is directly implicated in the killings of Palestinians, as well as mass surveilliance, blackmail and harassment targeting the entire Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation.

A Labour job description stated that Kaplan would now be responsible for “social listening” – monitoring members’ social media.

Is members’ data safe?

The Labour Party has so far refused to comment on the revelation. Kaplan himself has not commented.

Hmidan said that Labour has “failed to confirm what steps, if any, have been taken to limit the risks to these members or to ensure that our data is not processed without our consent.”

Hmidan says he is worried about what Kaplan could be doing with Labour members’ data, especially British Palestinians and those opposed to the occupation of Palestine.

Lawyer Jamie Potter said that given Kaplan’s background, “it is deeply concerning that the Labour Party recruited him without providing any assurances whatsoever to its Palestinian and other members, and has still not done so despite senior figures within the party condemning the recruitment.”

Labour’s former shadow finance minister John McDonnell in January responded to the news with concern. “I believe most party members will be bewildered to say the least,” he told Middle East Eye.

McDonnell, an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said that, “Despite all the social media talent available in our movement, the party has decided to recruit someone with a track record of working in an intelligence organization roundly condemned for its role in the abuse of the human rights of Palestinians.”

Chris Mullin, a former foreign office minister in the Tony Blair government, also told the website: “I am not sure if this is a good idea. Is he still working for the Israelis or for the Labour Party?”

Mullin was a supporter of Corbyn and wrote the 1982 novel A Very British Coup, about British spies and civil servants conspiring to overthrow a left-wing anti-imperialist Labour leader.

Bindmans lawyer Jamie Potter said that the firm hopes “the Labour Party will now engage with our client and respond fully to his questions concerning the recruitment decision.”

The Electronic Intifada understands that depending on how Labour responds, the firm could potentially take legal action.

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If every member concerned about data held on them were to make a GDPR data subject access request, with a request for hard copy (as is their right by law) that would be quite expensive for the party.

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Is he working for the Labour Party or Israel? What's the difference? The surprise is that Netanyahu is not yet installed as Labour leader. And what is the Labour Party doing allowing Palestinians to be members? Don't they know all Palestinians are terrorists? Though hang on, didn't Golda Meir say there is no such thing as a Palestinian? Then how can Palestinians be members? Is Labour now recruiting non-existent people? The simple answer, of course, is to make Labour a Jewish Party. Starmer declares himself a Zionist. Zionists believe in the Jewish State. They reject democracy because it has to embrace Palestinians and they don't exist. Thus, logic dictates Labour must expel ( at least) all its non-Jewish members. Of course, some, being unreasonable will take legal action. Enough already. Bulldoze their houses. Ethnically cleanse them, or cleanse them according to some other category. Confine them to territories where they will be supervised by Zionists night and day. Forbid them to have shampoo or trainers (well known terrorist weapons). Simple. Problem solved. No more Palestinians, no more dissent, Labour benches filled with Zionists and a very happy Keith. Of course, it would be a good idea to move the capital of the UK to Jerusalem. As for Labour staffers, they should all be Zionists and ex-spies if possible. Anyone else might suggest Israel is not paradise and Palestinians are human. What a stroke of genius by Keith to appoint a Zionist snoop to his inner team. Soon all the gentiles will be removed from the Party and once more, as Keith promised, it will be safe for those consummate liars who claimed it was institutionally anti-Semitic. All that remains it to poison Corbyn's toothpaste. Surely Keith has that in hand. Let's erect a statue of Baruch Goldstein outside parliament. Let's put Meir Kahane's image on every Labour poster. And if you see a child throwing a stone (or throwing anything) shoot her. She's a terrorist.

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This explain a lot about the "campaing" against Corbyn,even from "deep inside" his own party,very sad & worrisome for the laborist masses,but put the dots in dark & "unexplained" situations that party whent trough at the recent past.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.

At The Electronic Intifada he is associate editor and co-host of our podcast.