Antisemitic banner outside Labour Party Conference eventually removed by police
An antisemitic poster outside Labour Party Conference was allowed to remain by police before officers changed their mind and removed it.
The poster — which was not officially connected to the Labour Party — depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu piloting a fighter jet labelled “the lobby” and yelling “antisemite! antisemite! antisemite!” at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is standing at a podium labelled “Palestinian rights”. The fighter jet is shown having fired a missile labelled “defamation” at Mr Corbyn. The implication of the poster is that the Israeli Government or the ‘Israel lobby’ — portrayed in a militaristic fashion — has weaponised antisemitism and is behind defamatory accusations of antisemitism against the Labour leader, and that Israel wields significant power over British political affairs.
The poster’s caption referenced the International Definition of Antisemitism, also known as IHRA, reading: “IHRA: Tell the NEC how you feel.” The NEC is Labour’s National Executive Committee, and the message of the poster is in opposition to the reluctant adoption of the International Definition by the Labour Party.
It has also been suggested that the image in the poster was drawn by Carlos Latuff, an artist who placed second in Iran’s Holocaust Denial Cartoon Contest.
At first, police declined to remove the poster despite complaints, but after the Labour Party itself condemned the “antisemitic banner” and requested its removal, the police took it down. Even Mr Corbyn audaciously tweeted: “I’m disgusted that this banner was displayed near our #Lab19 conference centre. We asked the police to remove it and I’m glad they did. This kind of antisemitic poison has no place whatsoever in our society.”
The poster was made and put up by Peter Gregson, a Labour member from Scotland who was expelled from Momentum and from the GMB trade union and suspended from the Party after suggesting that the Holocaust was exaggerated and for abusive behaviour towards a female Jewish Labour member. It does not appear, however, that Mr Gregson has been expelled from Labour. Mr Gregson founded Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism during his suspension. It is unclear why Mr Gregson has been permitted to attend the Party Conference.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It is not surprising that a poster claiming that Labour’s antisemitism crisis is an Israeli plot should appear outside Labour Party Conference, but it is disappointing that it took so long for it to be removed, despite complaints from passersby. The reaction of the Labour Party is telling: it pays lip service to tackling antisemitism without asking why it attracts the purveyors of images such as these in the first place. Tweets from Jeremy Corbyn are not enough to reverse the institutional antisemitism that he has cultivated in his Party.”
More troubling still is that images such as these are standard fare on social media platforms and are used particularly by anonymous users. While they might be removed from the streets, on social media they are allowed to endure with no sanction.”
In recent months, twelve MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”