Joan Ryan, MP who fabricated anti-Semitism, quits Labour

Leading anti-Palestinian MP Joan Ryan has left Labour. (via Facebook)


Lawmaker Joan Ryan quit Labour on Tuesday, citing party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed “demonization and delegitimization” of Israel.

Ryan is the leading member of Parliament in Labour Friends of Israel – an Israeli embassy front group.

She notoriously fabricated a charge of anti-Semitism against Labour member Jean Fitzpatrick at the UK opposition party’s 2016 annual conference.

Labour Friends of Israel was defiant on Tuesday night, insisting that Ryan would “remain in her position as our parliamentary chair” despite her departure from the Labour Party.

In her resignation statement, Ryan claimed Corbyn is responsible for a “culture of anti-Jewish racism and hatred for Israel” and a government led by him “would be an existential threat” to the Jewish community.

Ryan has been a leading voice in the manufactured “Labour anti-Semitism” smear campaign over the last few years.

The North London member of Parliament’s move leaves local constituents without the Labour Party representation that they voted for in 2017’s general election.


In an extensive media blitz, Ryan announced she would be joining the new “Independent Group” of MPs who quit Labour on Monday.

The group has claimed Labour is “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

On Wednesday, the members who broke away from Labour were joined by three lawmakers from Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party, who resigned citing their opposition to Brexit.

Labour leaders have responded to the splinter faction by calling on them to do “the honorable thing” and resign their seats in Parliament.

Such a move would trigger local by-elections. The defectors would face a strong challenge from Labour-backed candidates and would therefore face an uphill struggle to retain their seats.

On Wednesday, Labour announced a new policy which would allow local constituents to force a by-election if their MP resigns from the party under whose banner they were elected.

Six out of the eight MPs who have split from Labour, including Ryan, are listed supporters of Labour Friends of Israel.

Yet while they are no longer members of the party, they apparently remain members of an Israel lobby group that claims affinity with Labour.

In July last year I predicted in the viral Twitter thread embedded above that the right-wing, pro-Israel faction of Labour would implement an exit strategy – but only in a way that could inflict maximum damage on the party.

Other MPs appear likely to follow, such as the staunchly anti-Palestinian, anti-Corbyn Ian Austin.

Joan Ryan became infamous among the Labour Party grassroots in 2017, when an undercover Al Jazeera investigation exposed her close relationship with the Israeli embassy.

That film shows Ryan fabricating a charge of anti-Semitism against a Labour member who challenged her anti-Palestinian stance at the 2016 party conference.

It also shows her discussing Israeli funding of “more than one million pounds” worth of junkets to Israel with Shai Masot, an embassy agent.

The film revealed an LFI employee privately admitting that Ryan talked to Masot “most days.”

Masot was expelled from the country, and Labour initially called for an “immediate inquiry” into the extent of Israel’s “improper interference” in British politics, but nothing ever came of it.

Jean Fitzpatrick, the Labour member Ryan falsely accused, had her membership suspended by the party’s disciplinary apparatus.

She was later readmitted to the party, but received no apology, and Ryan was totally unrepentant.

During the 2017 election, Ryan openly sabotaged the Labour Party and the Labour leadership while campaigning.

Despite her best efforts to throw the election, Ryan actually won an increased majority, riding a national wave of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s popular, moderately socialist manifesto.

But in an interview with the BBC’s Today program Wednesday morning, Ryan disputed this obvious fact, claiming of Corbyn that she “didn’t win my seat on his coattails.”

Her open disloyalty led local party members in her Enfield North constituency to narrowly pass a vote of no confidence in her last year.

Although long associated with the Blairite right-wing of Labour, Labour Friends of Israel has no official standing in the party.

Its support has dropped so much that last year it announced it would no longer run stalls at Labour’s annual conference, and even some of its parliamentary supporters have deserted it.




For the record, Ryan also fiddled her expenses while in Parliament, was caught, and wasn't exactly timely or gracious in paying back the excess she'd taken. This sort of grubby behaviour is pretty much what you can expect from someone who constantly accuses others of bad faith while promoting herself as a beacon of morality. And when you take a look at the Gang of Foreplay (they certainly took their time, didn't they?) you'll find just such an array of brazen chancers.


It is a violation to acquire new land as a result of warfare. Ariel Sharon once admitted that Israel occupied land in Palestine illegally but would continue to do so "...until peace returns to the area.". That's a Catch 22, as peace will never take place as long as there is illegal occupation. In accordance with International Law, Israel should recall all illegal settlers and pay reparations to all Palestinians affected. Calling names like antisemitic changes nothing. Everyone born in that area is semitic anyway.

Do some British politicians actually give Israel a pass for breaking the law and practicing ethnic cleansing if not genocide? SHAME SHAME! Remove them from office!


Isn't it better to have these MPs outside the party than in? Presumably the incremental damage they have sought to inflict on Corbyn and the Labour Party is no longer resonating with Labour voters to a sufficient degree and they are thus taking the nuclear option; the final grand statement. But if Corbyn and Labour can weather this, it will soon become stale news and at least the Party will be rid of them. Is it being too optimistic to see this a sign of their weakness or that their destabilising influence is not much chop anymore? The Party has a chance to pre-select better candidates and the Israeli lobby in the UK has lost some of their loyal foot soldiers for Israel that they have so carefully groomed. Even if one or any of them successfully stood as an Independent unless the next Government is tight on the numbers, it is doubtful that they can have much influence within Parliament.

I wonder if they are a bit miffed at their defection being at least partially overshadowed by the defection of some MPs from the Tory ranks?

The real crisis of how to deal with Brexit must push the manufactured anti-Semitic crisis of the Labour Party into the background. Am not British but the UK right now has a real crisis in Brexit; surely time is up for the puffed up indulgence of a crisis that doesn't exist.

Thank them kindly and wish them well but let them leave.


The Labour MPs, friends of Israel failed in their attempts to discredit Jeremy Corbyn while in the Labour party. They are now trying to achieve the same outside the Labour party. Defend Israel no matter what atrocities it commits against the Palestinians. Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that they are more loyal to a foreign country than to Britain.


"Despite her best efforts to throw the election, Ryan actually won an increased majority, riding a national wave of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s popular, moderately socialist manifesto."

But in an interview with the BBC’s Today program Wednesday morning, Ryan disputed this obvious fact, claiming of Corbyn that she “didn’t win my seat on his coattails.”

Your assertions are almost laughable when you reference another article that you wrote:

Despite “your misgivings about the Labour leadership,” Ryan wrote, “I hope that you will consider voting for me as your local MP.” She promised if re-elected “to work for a Labour Party that once again can deserve your confidence” – a not so subtle suggestion that it did not deserve their confidence in this election.

It seems pretty obvious, by your own assertions that she wasn't elected on Corbyn's "coattails".

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).