Local party votes to oust Labour MP who faked anti-Semitism charge

Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan was caught on undercover camera fabricating an instance of anti-Semitism at the Labour Party conference 2016.

Update

Joan Ryan lost the vote Thursday night, a local activist who was in the meeting told The Electronic Intifada. There were 95 votes recorded as no confidence, 92 votes confidence and four spoiled ballots.

Iranian satellite channel PressTV tweeted this video of the jubilant moment local activists voted to replace Ryan as their candidate for MP in the next election:

The final motion passed differed from the draft attached below, in that it removed mention of the Jean Fitzpatrick incident.

But it still cited Ryan’s smears against Corbyn and her false “allegations of anti-Semitism against the party.” It also still called for “an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.” The Skwawkbox has published the final motion in full.

Original article

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel is facing a no-confidence vote tonight, Thursday, The Electronic Intifada has been told by activists in North London.

Labour Friends of Israel is a lobby group which privately admits to working “really closely” and “behind the scenes” with the Israeli embassy.

The group’s chair, Joan Ryan, is facing removal for undermining her own Labour Party during last year’s general election, and for fabricating a charge of anti-Semitism against a Palestine solidarity activist in 2016.

A motion calls for the local party to express “no confidence in our MP Joan Ryan and seeks the removal of the party whip and an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.”

You can read it in full below.

The member of Parliament for Enfield North, Ryan has been one of Jeremy Corbyn’s bitterest opponents since he was elected leader of the Labour Party three years ago.

The motion cites this long-running campaign as the basis for removing Ryan, stating that she has written and contributed to many articles in a “press unjustly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. By doing so our MP has smeared his character.”

A constant theme in Ryan’s campaign has been baseless allegations of anti-Semitism against the party under Corbyn.

Most notoriously, at the party conference in 2016, Ryan falsely accused Labour member and Palestine solidarity activist Jean Fitzpatrick of attacking the Labour Friends of Israel stall using “anti-Semitic tropes.”

Ryan later reported Fitzpatrick to the party’s disciplinary structures.

“We believe our MP has acted against decency, fairness and natural justice,” the motion states in relation to Ryan’s false accusations against Fitzpatrick.

Ryan was caught out because the whole incident was captured on camera by an undercover reporter working for Al Jazeera, and broadcast in the film The Lobby last year. You can watch the footage in the video above.

The video proves that nothing Fitzpatrick said was anti-Semitic, and that Ryan had misrepresented her words.

Fitzpatrick herself has provided a statement to local members on what really happened, attached as an appendix to the motion.

In it she recounts being hauled into Labour Party headquarters for a disciplinary hearing.

She states that although she was never suspended, and that professional staff soon ruled she had done nothing wrong, “the strain of the whole case took its toll on me psychologically and emotionally.”

“It would be true to say that it is only in the last year I have begun to recover my health and equilibrium,” Fitzpatrick, who is 71, writes.

Bringing Labour into disrepute

“We see our MP behaving in a manner not befitting her status as an elected representative of the party and that does not reflect our Labour values,” the motion states. “This behavior has brought not only her office and our party but also us members who worked hard to get her elected into disrepute.”

The motion also cites Ryan’s campaign during last year’s general election, in which she was “all but abandoning Labour and sought to publicize herself as an independent in all but name.”

As The Electronic Intifada reported at the time, Ryan sent out letters during the campaign claiming that “many” local people had told her “they have more confidence in Theresa May as prime minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn.”

Despite “your misgivings about the Labour leadership,” Ryan wrote, “I hope that you will consider voting for me as your local MP.”

Even after Corbyn defied predictions and led the party to far better results than expected, Ryan continued her campaign of sabotage against Labour. She demanded that Corbyn cut ties with the UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign in order to supposedly prove Labour is a “credible party of government.”

Recently, Ryan wrote that she is “appalled” by Corbyn and accused her own party leader of failing “to tackle the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Also in the Al Jazeera film, Labour Friends of Israel’s parliamentary officer Michael Rubin admits that the group is effectively a front for the Israeli embassy.

“We work really closely together,” Rubin told the undercover reporter. “But a lot of it is behind the scenes.” You can watch the footage in the video above.

At the time, Labour Friends of Israel was working covertly with the embassy to set up a “Young LFI” pro-Israel group within the Labour Party.

Rubin explained that it was necessary to “be careful” to make sure it did not look “like an embassy thing.”

He clarified the need for secrecy: “publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy.”

But Rubin explained how his group could help extend Israeli political influence beyond where the embassy itself could go. “Being LFI allows us to reach out to people who wouldn’t want to get involved with the embassy,” Rubin said. “Keeping it as a separate thing is actually best for everyone.”

He also said that Ryan was in contact with an Israeli embassy agent almost daily.

Speaking about Shai Masot – an embassy spy booted out of the UK after Al Jazeera broadcast revelations he had been plotting to “take down” ministers and MPs sympathetic to Palestine – Rubin said that Ryan would “speak to Shai most days.”

It’s not the first time Ryan has faced local activists unhappy with her attempts to undermine Labour from within.

Her allies have attempted to cancel tonight’s vote, as reported by the left-wing Labour news site, The Skwawkbox.

But local activists have told The Electronic Intifada the vote is now back on. Ryan herself is sending out emails calling for her supporters to rally and vote, even “if you cannot stay at the rest of the meeting,” according to The Skwawkbox.

This post will be updated with results of tonight’s vote.

Joan Ryan has consistently failed to reply to The Electronic Intifada’s requests for comment in the past.

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Comments

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There should be democratic re-selection of every prospective MP by the local CLP.

No jobs for life!

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I found the footage shot by Al-Jazeera profoundly disturbing. It shows an abuse of power being tolerated in the Labour Party. It raises a number of questions: How are such liars, such traducers able to get away with this? Does nobody see what they're doing? Who will remove this fifth column which is corrupting the Party?

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Labour needs to disassociate itself from the LFI altogether as it is clearly an Anti-Labour movement within the Labour Party, intent on supporting Israel in all their breaches of Human Rights - everything that Labour are opposed to.
Also, without specific exclusion of the Political State of Israel in the IHRA Definition, Anti-Semitism as a term remains in conflict. Israel is, by definition, a Political State. Judaism is a Religion. Anti-Semitism should be simply taken as a simile to Anti-Judaism. However, this is not possible as being Anti-Zionist is not necessarily the same as being Anti-Judaist. The Party was wrong to adopt the definition in its current unamended context.

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Completely agree. It is alarming to see how successful the Israeli government had been in conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism with aim to make it the same in public opinion. Labour should not have caved in. Criticism of Israel as an apartheid-style state that undeniably oppresses Palestinians is freedom of expression whereas anti-Semitism is hating Jews for being Jews.

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Labour needs to disassociate itself from the LFI altogether as it is clearly an Anti-Labour movement within the Labour Party, intent on supporting Israel in all their breaches of Human Rights - everything that Labour are opposed to.

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Well done Enfield CLP ! I noticed in the letter she sent out to her constituents pre-election she mentioned absolutely nothing of local issues , just generic Labour policy, which is odd considering she was clearly trying to distance herself from the party in the same letter . I know my local MP campaigned specifically on local issues and concerns and has since been true to her word as far as representing those concerns in parliament . I would be interested to know what specifically Ms Ryan has done to represent her constituents in parliament and what, if any local issues she may have helped resolve .
As the motion illustrates in a number of ways Joan Ryan lacks integrity !
For me the most odious , underhand and disgraceful action was AFTER she falsely accused Jean of using an antisemitic trope , when she then outright lied to a number of other people about what Jean had said . If that does not bring the party into disrepute I don't know what does ?
Now the press took great pleasure at that conference with the , "3 cases of antisemitism on 1st day of Labour conference!". Now we know one of those cases was Jean and if my memory serves right I am pretty sure the film confirms that there were 2 others that day , so are we to conclude that the shock headline was in fact all from a known false accuser ??
Enfield CLP were totally right to call this motion , you cannot serve two masters and Joan Ryan has shown her priorities are not with Labour voters but with the Zionist state !

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This vote would explain why the lead story on BBC R4 this morning, about 7 or 8 minutes, is Blair predicting the end ot the universe because socialists have taken over the labour party. No mention of this vote or this story at all.

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I would like to make a donation if the Labour Party is seeking justice for libel and would like to know how I can donate a small sum of money to help justice for Jeremy

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Having watched the vid 1 in the article above it appears that what was making Joan Ryan uncomfortable was her inability to answer the questions put to her by an interested Labour Party member. That, in itself, spoke volumes. That she took offence to persistent questioning is clear. Her behaviour then and subsequently is shocking. To slur someone that she did not know, whose intentions and words she had misrepresented warranted public censure. It is heartening to know that such bullying tactics, which indeed these actions were, has resulted in action being taken against her.

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Joan Ryan is a textbook example of someone consumed by irrational hatred. Ask anyone who has known her. It is terrifying, but at least some people have now seen her inciting hatred and intimidating victims.

She should be in prison, but most importantly she should not be in the Labour Party. The Party should not tolerate Joan Ryan's racism.

If only more people had documentary proof of false accusations. Film and record.

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Excellent report, there is an awful lot more of these MPs that make fake accusations to a hostile press, knowing they do harm to the Labour Party, thank goodness though that local parties are now taking action.

This is democracy in action and would reiterate what others have said on this blog, that the LFI group should no longer be part of the Labour Movement and excluded from all activities within Labour.

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This is the kind of democracy we need badly: coming from the grassroots!

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One of the saddest and most ominous aspects of this otherwise silly Zionist plot to take down Jeremy Corbyn is the willingness of Zionist Brits to fake accusations of anti-Semitism and thereby attempt to destroy the reputations of fellow citizens - all to benefit a foreign State, Israel, which is laying out lots of cash intended to interfere in the internal affairs of a British political party. This Zionust gambit raises questions of allegiance to ones' country.

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Fascinating illustration of the control of the MSM - a comment on the Guardian website (non- ranting, clean of anti-social media insults) 'moderated' - i.e censored - because it suggested that their article omitted significant uncomfortable facts (as above) about Joan Ryan in painting her as a persecuted martyr.

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A combined push by the pro-Israel body to discredit the Left and unite the extreme Right with the Conservative Right. It's transparently obvious. The Trump united Right have closed ranks in spite of insider differences to push the Left out through racism and bu88shit charges of good old fashioned anti-Nazi propoganda.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.