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Labour members call for inquiry into Israeli meddling

LABOUR members and supporters have called on general secretary Jennie Formby to launch an urgent investigation into Israeli interference in the party.

In a letter seen by the Star, signatories accuse the Israeli government of undertaking a fierce propaganda campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The letter says that an inquiry is even more urgent now that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has waded into the anti-semitism row, falsely accusing Mr Corbyn of comparing Israel to nazis and laying a wreath at a terrorist's grave.

It also refers to a four-part Al-Jazeera documentary aired in January 2017 called The Lobby, which featured Shai Masot, a senior political officer of the Israeli embassy in London, plotting to “take down” Tory Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan.

He also sought to discredit the then chair of the foreign affairs select committee Crispin Blunt for criticism of Israeli policies that have killed and persecuted thousands of Palestinian people.

Mr Masot was forced to leave Britain after his plans were exposed.

The footage showed Mr Masot telling Joan Ryan MP, head of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), that “he had more than £1 million of Israeli government funding at his disposal for LFI MPs to take trips to Israel.”

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has been part of the project and admitted to having had close links to Mr Masot, according to the website Electronic Intifada, which says it has a transcript in which director Ella Rose says “We work with Shai, we know him very well.” The JLM distanced itself from Mr Masot after the al-Jazeera documentary aired, saying he had been exaggerating his own importance.

Mr Corbyn said then that “such improper interference in this country’s democratic process is unacceptable” and that an immediate inquiry is needed.

Signatories to the letter Michael Kalmanovitz, Sara Callaway and Moshe Machover add: “We think that this demand for an investigation into outside interference, or actual subversion, by a foreign power into the internal affairs of both the Labour and Tory parties was right and proper. We cannot be complacent.”

In March, a poll of Labour members found that 77 per cent believe the charges of anti-semitism in the party are “being deliberately exaggerated to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, or to stifle criticism of Israel.”

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