Jewish newspapers that criticised Labour’s position on Antisemitism may be working on behalf of the Israeli secret service, one of the party’s councillors has suggested.
Mary Lockhart has been told such views have no place in the Scottish Labour party after posting a message on Facebook attacking those who have questioned UK leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude on the issue.
The UK’s three leading Jewish newspapers this week took the unprecedented step of publishing a joint front page message warning that a Corbyn-led government would pose an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country”.
Ms Lockhart, whose ward is Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty, posted about the move: “If the purpose is to generate opposition to anti-semitism, it has backfired spectacularly.
“If it is to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader, it is unlikely to succeed, and is a shameless piece of cynical opportunism.
“And if it is a Mossad [the Israeli secret service] assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government pledged to recognise Palestine as a State, it is unacceptable interference in the democracy of Britain.”
She went on to say the Labour Party is neither racist, nor Antisemitic before adding: “Israel is a racist state.”
Paul Spicker, of the Tayside and Fife Jewish Community charity, said some people have used attacks on the actions of the state of Israel as cover for Antisemitic remarks.
He added: “The Labour Party has dropped illustrations of antisemitism which suggest, for example, that Jewish people have more loyalty to Israel than to their own country.
“Mary Lockhart’s comments begin in the same way, suggesting that Jews who dare to object are the agents of Mossad, the Israeli secret service. How dare she?”
Former Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty told The Courier he would be making a formal complaint about his party colleague.
He said: “If you even suggest that British Jews are agents of the Israeli secret service that is an Antisemitic trope and you have no place in the Labour Party.”
Howard Barclay, who complained to the party about an allegedly anti-Semitic post by Dundee Labour councillor George McIrvine in April, added: “I am stunned at this.
“A councillor or any elected official who suggests that the controversy over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is being organised by Mossad is at best delusional, at worst is anti-Semitic and should resign from office.
“And to suggest Israel is a ‘racist state’ is beyond the pale.
“If the Scottish Labour Party do not act, one can only conclude that Richard Leonard as leader condones this appalling abuse of Jewish people.”
Scottish Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire Paul Masterson said: “For a Scottish Labour councillor to claim that Britain’s leading Jewish newspapers, and by extension the British Jews who work for them, are acting as agents for the Israeli secret service to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10 is ignorant, offensive and horrifying.
“These comments are totally unacceptable and demonstrate precisely why the Jewish community has lost so much faith in Labour. There can no longer be any complacency within Scottish Labour that their party’s issues with Antisemitism stop at the border.
“There should be no doubt that Ms Lockhart’s remarks are Antisemitic and demonstrate that she is unfit to hold public office.”
Ex-Labour MSP Richard Simpson was also critical.
I wondered how long it would be before Mary surfaced with a conspiracy theory. A ppc MSP selection process involving her locally was abandoned after accusations were made. She is a good councillor but….. https://t.co/OXN7gsmxRE
— Dr Richard Simpson (@DrRJSimpson) July 26, 2018
Under the headline “United We Stand”, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraph and Jewish News described Labour’s refusal to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism as “sinister”.
They said that “the stain and shame of anti-Semitism has coursed through Her Majesty’s Opposition since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015”.
Labour insisted Mr Corbyn and the party are “fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations”.
In 2016 Ms Lockhart apologised for any offence caused by a social media post which appeared to compare some Labour officials to Nazis.
She referred to a famous poem about persecution in the Third Reich when protesting against a decision to ban some Labour members from the UK leadership contest.
Former Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty said: “If you suggest that British Jews are agents of the Israeli secret service that is an anti-Semitic trope and you have no place in the Labour Party.”
Ms Lockhart was unavailable for comment.
It is understood Scottish Labour has not yet received any formal complaint.
The party did not comment.