The activist behind an iconic speech on Palestine at Labour’s conference last year has had his parliamentary hopes dashed by the party, the UK’s main opposition.
Colin Monehen announced on Sunday he had been shortlisted to be the Labour candidate for Epping Forest in northeast London.
But the party emailed at 1pm on Wednesday telling him he had been removed from the shortlist “after due diligence.” They gave no specifics, Monehen told The Electronic Intifada.
That morning, The Jewish Chronicle had published a story claiming Monehen had “defended a notorious anti-Semitic image.”
But the journalist behind the story made his real motive clear, by denouncing Monehen on Twitter as having given a “pro-Palestinian rant” at last year’s conference.
Lee Harpin also invented the ludicrous idea that Monehen had been “dragged off the stage by security” in 2018.
What Harpin reported about the image was also untrue. Monehen had actually repeatedly condemned it.
It showed the Statue of Liberty being smothered by a face-hugging creature from the movie Alien. On top of the creature, the blue Star of David from the Israeli flag has been imposed.
“I have not shared that image nor would I,” Monehen told The Electronic Intifada on Wednesday. “We are now in a situation where any discussion around the subject is in itself dangerous.”
The Labour Party did not reply to a request for comment.
Harpin is one of several former Mirror journalists to be implicated in that paper’s phone hacking scandal in 2015.
That year, he was arrested and questioned by police over his alleged role in illegally tapping individual’s phones while he was an editor there. Charges against the paper’s editors were later dropped, even though the paper admitted criminal activity had taken place.
Monehen came to prominence among the party’s grassroots last year after his stirring speech at Labour conference.
Proposing a motion against arms sales to Israel, Monehen said there had to be recognition of the past, and how “in 1948 the Palestinian people suffered the tragedy of the Nakba, when the majority of the Palestinian people were forced from their homes.”
He was cheered by a sea of delegates waving Palestinian flags.
“This tragedy happened on our watch,” he said. The Labour government elected in 1945 presided over the Nakba in 1948, when Britain ended its occupation – only to be replaced with Israeli occupation.
“Conference, if we are silent, we are complicit,” he said. “The Palestinian people cannot be left alone.”
Videos of the speech online have had more than 160,000 views.
Monehen is the latest in a long line of victims in the witch hunt against the left and the Palestine solidarity movement that has been raging in Labour since 2015.
Update, 24 October
Labour Party activists have tweeted expressing support for Monehen.