The actress Maxine Peake’s conspiratorial view that Israel is somehow to blame for the racist killing of George Floyd has no place in decent society.
In an interview with The Independent, Ms Peake claimed that “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”
The Independent clarified that “Though a spokesperson for the Israeli police has denied this, a 2016 Amnesty International report said that hundreds of law enforcement officials had travelled to Israel for training.” The conspiracy theory that such training has any connection to physical policing techniques has been thoroughly debunked but is still popular on the far-left.
Ms Peake also suggested that those who did not vote for Jeremy Corbyn “should hang their heads in shame”. Given Ms Peake purported to be concerned about “fascism”, she might have consulted with the Jewish community, which learned too well the effects of that ideology, and were terrified at the prospect of Mr Corbyn, an antisemite, becoming Prime Minister.
At least two Labour MPs tweeted the interview approvingly. The Shadow Education Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said that “Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond”, but later retracted her endorsement in a subsequent tweet, saying: “I retweeted Maxine Peake’s article because of her significant achievements and because the thrust of her argument is to stay in the Labour Party. It wasn’t intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article.”
Kate Osborne MP also tweeted that she was “finding it hard to disagree with the fantastic Maxine Peake”, before deleting the tweet.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Maxine Peake’s disgraceful promotion of a conspiracy theory tying Israel to the racist killing of George Floyd is unacceptable. Moreover, her attempt to shame those who felt threatened by the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn, an antisemite, becoming Prime Minister, is also outrageous. It is regrettable that Rebecca Long-Bailey and another Labour MP retweeted the interview but it is to their credit that they later clarified or deleted their tweets, recognising, however belatedly, that Ms Peake’s views have no place in decent society.”
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.