A Muslim journalist who was suspended by the Labour Party for broadcasting a constituency meeting has quit the party in protest at its crackdown on Palestinian activism.
Robert Carter, who works for the Iranian broadcaster Press TV in London, cut up his membership card in front of the cameras whilst expressing his disgust at Labour.
He has been under investigation since September 2018 after filming and leaking footage of former MP Joan Ryan’s defeat in a no-confidence vote in her Enfield North constituency.
Ryan, the then chair of Labour Friends of Israel, had outraged constituents by constantly attacking Jeremy Corbyn over anti-semitism. She later resigned from the party and lost her seat.
Carter said: “I’ve done it; I’ve quit the Labour Party. A sentence I never expected to write after joining the movement with great enthusiasm in 2015. I was part of the wave of fresh young members who signed up just before the leadership contest, which saw socialist and life-long anti-racism campaigner Jeremy Corbyn surge to power. We were all hopeful back then and with good reason – Labour had elected the first anti-imperialist old school socialist to captain the largest British opposition party.
“However, under his leadership the party spiralled into a civil war for the soul of the party with the Labour right-wing spearheading a political inquisition with the ambition of stopping people reporting, or even talking about, Israel’s crimes. But the so-called ‘witch hunt’ wasn’t enough to force me to walk. What pushed me over the edge was the day I witnessed all the leadership candidates to replace the hounded socialist leader publicly declared themselves Zionists or supporters of Zionism.
“This shocking announcement made clear to me that the party is not a genuine pro-Palestine movement and is willing to compromise its morality to appease a racist political ideology.”
Carter was suspended from the party after right-wing newspapers reported on his alleged breach of Labour Party rules after his footage went viral and was shown all over the world. Ryan later blamed her loss on “Trots, Stalinists and communists.”
Carter also expressed his frustration at the Labour Party’s disciplinary procedure which, in his case, has yet to conclude.
He said: “Throughout this process, I have been routinely ignored. The faceless bureaucrats handling my case submitted questions without answering any of my own. I have never been given a timeline of the process, and no one from the party has ever spoken to me verbally.
“Yet I have been threatened with permanent expulsion if I ever try to attend any Labour meetings and am barred from voting in any Labour votes. However, the party has not stopped charging me the monthly membership fee! Seems like my money is welcomed, but my pro-Palestine views are not.”
Carter added that all Muslims should now boycott Labour.
“Many pro-Palestine activists have been suspended or investigated, many of whom have been branded ‘anti-Semitic’ in the process,” he said.
“Anyone who dares speak out against Israeli Apartheid or the links between several British pro-Israel lawmakers and notorious pro-Israel advocacy groups’ activities is kicked out. The fear of being purged ensures the ongoing silence and complicity of pro Palestine leaders and the membership concerning Israel’s illegal or immoral activities.
“It is totally unacceptable for any political party to gag criticism of any oppressive regime, be it at home or abroad… Some may argue that pro-Palestine activists should stay and fight. However, I believe that a more effective strategy would be to boycott Labour. Hound them out of the British Muslim, Palestine, and left-wing communities; withdraw our votes in protest until they change their stance.”
In January Labour Party General Secretary Jennie Formby said that antisemitism had no place in the Labour Party and it has continued to take decisive action to root it out.
“A small minority of Labour members hold antisemitic views and a larger number don’t always recognise antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories for what they are,” she said.
“Labour is the only political party which publishes statistics on disciplinary cases and we are committed to transparency… The vast majority of complaints relate to social media activity, often social media posts from several years ago. A third of all cases in 2019 have the same single individual as the main complainant.”
Formby said that Labour has introduced reforms to speed up the disciplinary process “resulting in more investigations, suspensions and expulsions.”