Journalist quits Labour Party over “purge” of pro-Palestinians

Asa Winstanley

The pro-Palestine journalist Asa Winstanley has quit the Labour Party over what he calls a political purge of members who support Palestinian rights.

Winstanley is a writer for The Electronic Intifada, one of the most widely read Palestine websites in the English language.

He announced his decision in an article in which he said: “Today I decided to quit the Labour Party. I did so to protest the party’s illegal mishandling of my private data, and because it is using its complaints system to conduct a political purge of members who support Palestinian rights.

“Almost a year after Labour’s faceless bureaucrats began investigating me, they sent me a letter this week threatening to expel me from the party. They demanded I reply within just five days of the letter’s receipt – unless the party decides I have a clear and compelling reason’ for an extension – to a 45-page packet of accusations regarding opinions I expressed and facts I reported in my Twitter postings.

“The absurdly short time given to respond makes a mockery of any fair process. I’ve concluded that going along with this sham any further would be to participate in a political show trial whose outcome is a foregone conclusion…

“The allegations amount to an attack on my reporting about Palestine, Zionism, the Israel lobby in the UK and the manufactured anti-Semitism crisis in Labour since 2015. They are an effort to smear me personally as an anti-Semite in order to silence me and intimidate others into silence over Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

“This political inquisition also aims to stop people talking about and reporting on the role the Israel lobby plays in ensuring the ongoing silence and complicity of our political leaders in relation to Israel’s crimes…

“Instead of wasting more time defending myself against baseless, politically motivated charges, I have written to Labour today with my resignation.”

Earlier this month the Labour Party wrote to Mr Winstanley informing him of the possibility that he would be thrown out of the party.

The accusations against him include:

  • Calling the former head of Labour Friends of Israel, Joan Ryan, “Israel’s puppet.”
  • Calling Israel a “racist endeavour.”
  • Saying Zionism is racism.
  • Calling Labour’s antisemitism crisis “a hoax.”
  • Saying Israel was trying to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Calling the Jewish Labour Movement a proxy for the Israeli embassy.
  • Criticising a number of Labour MPs for supporting Israel.

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