Pro-Corbyn shadow minister purged after Israel lobby demand

Rebecca Long-Bailey campaigning for a Labour government in November. (Jeremy Corbyn/Flickr)

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer has fired his shadow education minister after she posted an interview with Labour-supporting actor Maxine Peake to Twitter.

In the interview, Peake had made reference to the well-documented fact that Israeli forces habitually train US police forces.

Rebecca Long-Bailey tweeted the interview approvingly, without making reference to the part about Israel.

After coming under attack, Long-Bailey tweeted that she hadn’t intended to endorse “all aspects of the article.” She later further distanced herself from the article. She initially refused to delete the original tweet, but eventually did so.

This wasn’t enough for the Israel lobbyists.

Falsely smearing Peake as having promoted an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory,” the Jewish Leadership Council denounced Long-Bailey for not having “deleted it or apologized” for her tweet and called for Starmer to take action against her.

Starmer sacked Long-Bailey within the hour.

Labour Friends of Israel – a front group for the Israeli embassy – welcomed the purge of Long-Bailey – as did the Jewish Labour Movement, another group with close ties to the embassy.

Trained by Israel

A well-known British actor, Maxine Peake’s interview with The Independent only contained a passing reference to Israel. It was mostly about Labour’s electoral prospects.

Peake is a well established supporter of Palestinian rights, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS.

But explaining her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Peake said: “Systemic racism is a global issue … The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

As The Electronic Intifada has reported for years, it is indeed the case that Israeli forces are frequently sent to the US to train police forces in the use of “counter-terror” tactics.

This well documented phenomenon has helped US police forces to refine their systemic violent racism against Black people.

Police forces right across the US – from New York to Los Angeles – have received training from visiting Israeli forces, including the Shin Bet secret service.

This training is often organized by pro-Israel organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (which also ran a major US spy ring in the 1980s and 1990s to infiltrate anti-apartheid activists, sending their information to the regime in South Africa and to Israel).

Since the Black Livers Matter movement first erupted in 2014, the Israel lobby has increasingly seen it as a major strategic threat.

A report last year by Reut, an influential Israeli think tank, described intersectionality – a theory popular among Black Lives Matter activists – as undermining “Jewish communities’ agendas, including support for the State of Israel.”


Rebecca Long-Bailey was one of the few remaining members of Labour’s shadow cabinet to have been a supporter of the previous party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Left-wing Labour news site The Skwawkbox reported that the tweet was a pretext by the Labour right to purge Long-Bailey.

According to unnamed Labour sources a “huge row over Labour’s support” for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policy of pushing for schools to return to work early during the coronavirus crisis “was the real trigger for the sacking.”

Ironically, Long-Bailey has herself promoted the manufactured “Labour anti-Semitism crisis” smear campaign.

After four-and-a-half years of such smears, Corbyn lost December’s general election. Polling indicated the smear campaign was a major factor in the loss.

Long-Bailey ran in the election to replace Corbyn, but came second to Starmer. Touted as the continuity-Corbyn candidate, she failed to ignite grassroots excitement, inadvertently smearing Corbyn himself as anti-Semitic.

At an event run by Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, she even stated that she supported separate Palestinian and Israeli states, “so I suppose that makes me a Zionist.”

Updated on 24 May 2021 to add a screenshot of the original tweet by Long-Bailey, which has now been deleted.




Free speech? Is it now forbidden to investigate or report on Israeli training of US police? The evidence is clear. The AI US website contains a piece by Edie Garwood ( 25/8/2016) which lists the may police depts which have received Israeli training. The essential question here is freedom of speech and enquiry. If it is to be deemed anti-Semitic to mention the police training, if doing so is an "anti-Semitic conspiracy theory" then Big Brother has won, Newspeak dominates, thought control rules and evidence is shoved down the memory hole. The point is, for debate to take place, for freedom of thought, expression and enquiry to prevail, people have to be permitted to put forward ideas, even if they are vile. The way to deal with vile ideas is to confront them in the public space of debate, to provide the evidence and arguments which expose them. Thus, why don't LFI, JLC, BoD etc provide the evidence that the Israelis do not train the US police? Why don't they provide the evidence that Israeli police do not kneel on the necks of Palestinians? Maybe because any literate five-year-old can find the evidence to the contrary. Images of Israeli officers with their knees on the necks of Palestinians are the push of a key away. When you can't win the argument, gag your opponent. That is how the powerful have always behaved. It is the primary tactic of fascism. The Labour Party is now thoroughly Orwellian and kiltering towards totalitarianism. Starmer says mending fences with the "Jewish community" is his first priority. Which Jewish community? And why? Jews are flourishing in Britain. Hodge is a multi-millionairess and a listened-to MP. Which would you rather be in the UK, Jewish or black, Jewish or disabled, Jewish or obese, Jewish or poor, Jewish or transgender? The Jews aren't persecuted. They aren't marginalised. They are doing well. And they are the priority of a Party which is supposed to lift the poor and powerless? Labour has gone crazy. Starmer is a fool and a coward.


I sympathise. But most people believe what they want to believe and need to believe. Corbyn's key mistake was not to challenge it. Long-Bailey has paid the price.


How many of the British politicians signed the document denouncing the planned annexation of the West Bank ? Is there such a list ?


For anyone in doubt as to the dimensions of the problem cited by Maxine Peake, here's a chilling reminder of the symbiosis that's developed between scaled-up militarised policing in the US and the apartheid state.

The video was produced eleven years ago by JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security for America) and continues to circulate openly today. These exchange and training programs are run by various domestic Zionist groups and exist for one purpose- to ramp up violent racist policing in both countries. In the congenial soiree featured in the video, we see leading figures from the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, state and city police forces stand up before the gathering to assure their Israeli hosts that they intend to enthusiastically implement attitudes and methods learned on this junket. How anyone could deny that these relations are prevalent or claim that citing them is an antisemitic act is beyond absurd. And yes, the specific tactic of kneeling on a victim's neck has an established routine presence and timeline in Israeli repression of Palestinian protesters.

With respect to the sudden defenestration of Long-Bailey, her pledge of loyalty to the Zionist cause during the leadership campaign was of no avail. Tzipi Hotovely, the maniacal new Israeli ambassador replacing the odious Mark Regev, is being presented this trophy by Starmer in the manner of a colonial viceroy receiving gifts of tribute on an inaugural tour.

Even now, I don't know whether Long-Bailey understands that appeasement doesn't work. You're far better off fighting these gangsters out in the open. Corbyn himself temporised with his assassins and sacrificed his friends until he himself was brought down.

You may lose anyway. But you do far more damage to whatever cause you're trying to support, by imagining that you can extract a compromise from people whose unswerving goal is your destruction.


This article omits what the (admittedly anti-Palestinian) Guardian says was the pretext:
the neck-kneeling 'technique', which the article the tweet referred to said was taught by Israel.

Amnesty International, whose report a few years ago criticized Israeli training of U.S. police,
said it had not specified the technique as Israeli-taught. Peake apparently withdrew
that accusation, and Long-Bailey followed suit. This wasn't enough for Starmer,
delighted to have an excuse to continue purging Labour of leftists (who in this case,
like Starmer and other leadership contestants, had pledged loyalty to Israel).

I think this story should have covered that.


Shake the dust from your feet Asa
Asa Winstanley must be so glad he resigned from the Labour party. What a pathetic party. I am glad RLB got sacked. I hope she gets expelled. She is reported to have made the following statement ''It is never OK to respond to allegations of racism by being defensive…. The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement”''. Thankfully she does not seem to have applied this absurd statement to herself- she did allow herself to consider the allegation and to respond to an allegation of antisemitism by defending herself. I'm glad her defence of herself failed. What a shame she wasn't expelled like so many of the witchhunted whom she failed to stick up for. I LOVE Chris Williamson!! the only MP who tried to defend my right to free speech and who tried to stand up for the truth and for fairness. Jeremy Corbyn presided over the most shocking attack on free speech ( adoption of INHRA definition of antisemitism by ALL main political parties). He did nothing to defend my right to free speech.


You can't make this up. Rebecca Long-Bailey tweets a recommendation of an article in the Independent. The Independent praises Starmer for sacking her.


Quick comment on the article's very last sentence: Yes, supporting two states DOES make on a Zionist, as both Long-Bailey and Nandy uttered at the Labour-leadership hustings. When we think 'two-states' we usually think of the Palestinian one. But two states means just that: there are two, and one is our old friend Israel, to be secure for all time in its borders and to be apartheid and to refuse the return of any Palestinians in the diaspora.
Starmer is a craven puppet. Embarrassing.


This all started when Corbyn and his team didn't purge the backstabbers from the parliamentary labour party like Boris Johnson did. Instead they accepted the undemocratic and anti free speech anti brexit and fake anti semitism allegations, giving in to smears. Labour really died when they purged Chris Williamson

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).