Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation, was found by the researcher David Collier to have provided assistance to Pete Gregson.
According to e-mails uncovered by Mr Collier, it appeared that Mr Gregson was organising a tour for the fringe and controversial Neturei Karta group’s Rabbi Dovid Weiss and the activist Azzam Tamimi, who has previously urged the people of Gaza to “explode in their faces” and engage in Jihad, in an apparent reference to violent terrorism against Israelis.
When details of the tour first emerged in late July, Campaign Against Antisemitism condemned it.
The e-mail exchange appeared to show Mr Gregson telling Na’amod that he was looking for venues in several cities, including those with large Muslim populations but that he also wanted to reach out to Jewish people. He asked Na’amod if it could suggest some venues.
According to Mr Collier, a reply e-mail to Mr Gregson allegedly from Na’amod said, “That all sounds really good” and attached a master list of venues that the group uses for its own events, apparently in order to assist Mr Gregson.
In 2019, Pete Gregson was suspended by the Labour Party and expelled from the pro-Corbyn pressure group Momentum and the GMB union for saying that Israel was a “racist endeavour” which “exaggerates” the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis for “political ends”. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust” is an example of antisemitism, as is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).”
In the same year, Mr Gregson set up LAZIR to support Jeremy Corbyn, to campaign for the International Definition of Antisemitism to be dropped by Labour and for Labour’s Jewish affiliate to be thrown out of the Party.
In September 2019, police officers removed an antisemitic poster outside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. The poster depicted the then-Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, piloting a fighter jet labelled “the lobby” and yelling “Antisemite! Antisemite! Antisemite!” at the then-Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is standing at a podium labelled “Palestinian rights”. 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 was designed and put up by Mr Gregson.
Mr Gregson is believed to be a member of the Resist Movement, headed by the disgraced former Labour MP, Chris Williamson, and is believed to be the chair of the antisemitism-denial group Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism.
After Mr Collier apparently first privately put the allegation to Na’amod, the group published a defiant statement on 23rd August, saying: “Na’amod has been accused of supplying a list of venues to Pete Gregson for his ‘Rabbi On The Road’ tour. Na’amod has never supported this individual in this or any other capacity. Targeting of Na’amod is consistent with far-right, pro-occupation groups and individuals who attempt to undermine those striving for the human rights of Palestinians under occupation. Na’amod will continue to take a stand against the moral crisis that is Israel’s occupation, and mobilise our community in support of freedom, equality and justice for all in Israel-Palestine. Join us.”
Amidst a Jewish communal outcry, the group then put out a more equivocal statement on 8th September, saying: “We recently put out a statement regarding accusations of assisting Pete Gregson. Our initial investigation uncovered no evidence of assistance, and we have been unable to locate any e-mail to suggest that we have supported him on his tour.
“We will continue to conduct an internal investigation and seek external support, to get a clear understanding of what has happened and whether our communication channels have been compromised. We want to reiterate that Na’amod rejects Gregson’s rhetoric. We will continue to mobilise our community in support of freedom, equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis.”
After an investigation, Na’amod determined that the allegation was, in fact, accurate.
In a statement a week later on 14th September, the controversial group said: “We have spent the last few days comprehensively investigating the origin of the unauthorised e-mail which was sent from the Na’amod account to Pete Gregson, and have concluded that the e-mail was sent by a member of our team, who is no longer in their position.
“As a movement, we try to be transparent when we get things wrong. This e=mail should never have been sent, and was not approved. We unequivocally reject and condemn Pete Gregson’s antisemitic views, and want nothing to do with him.“We are committed to being honest and open, and learning to be a better movement, in order to mobilise our community in support of freedom, justice and equality for all Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. We are hugely regretful and disappointed that this happened, and offer our sincere apologies.”