Official portrait of Joan Ryan..
(photo credit: CHRIS MCANDREW/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
UK Labour MP Joan Ryan has become the eighth member to resign from the party due to antisemitism in its ranks and its policies on Brexit.
Ryan said that Labour has become “infected” with antisemitism and that its leader, Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead the country.
On Monday, seven Labour MPs resigned from the party in protest of the party’s failure to deal with its antisemitism problem, which they said has changed Labour’s character, and due to their frustration with its bumbling policy on Brexit, which is the central political issue in the UK today.
Writing to her constituents on Monday, Ryan, who served as the chair of the Labour Friends of Israel lobby, spoke of how she had joined the Labour Party “to fight injustice and discrimination” and for equality, but said that she was leaving the party for those exact reasons.
“Over the past three years, the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become infected with the scourge of antisemitism,” she wrote.
Ryan said that history has taught the “tragic and horrific results of failing to counter the oldest hatred,” and that she had been “appalled and angered to see the Labour leadership’s dereliction of duty in the face of this evil.”
The MP continued “I cannot remain a member of the Labour Party while this requires me to tell my constituents that I believe Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has presided over the culture of antisemitism and hatred for Israel which now afflicts my former party, is fit to be Prime Minister of this country. He is not.”
Shortly after her announcement, Young Labour, the youth wing of the Labour Party, retweeted a tweet by Electronic Intifada journalist Asa Winstanley saying “Joan Ryan gone - Palestine Lives,” seemingly a reference to Ryan’s support for Israel.
The retweet was subsequently deleted and the chair of Young Labour Miriam Mirwitch denied sending the post, and that numerous members of the Young Labour committee have access to its Twitter account and could have been responsible.
She also said that Winstanley had previously accused her of “belonging to a front group for the Israeli Embassy” because she is Jewish, adding “I utterly oppose the Israeli government.”
Following the announcement of the original seven MPs to quit Labour, Young Israel tweeted “Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here,” a quote from The Red Flag socialist anthem.
Criticism of the now eight MPs who have left the Labour Party has come quickly from Corbyn allies within Labour, as well as from George Galloway, a former MP who was expelled from Labour and is a notorious anti-Zionist who tried to boycott Israeli goods in Bradford in 2014.
Speaking to Sky News, Galloway said that the departure of the eight MPs from Labour was part of a “black-op” and said that charges of antisemitism in the party were “pure Goebellian propaganda”
He said that he did not believe MP Luciana Berger, one of the eight MPs to have left Labour and who is Jewish, left because of antisemitism, and said that “Goebbels is you” of Sky News, The Times
newspaper and “the other organs that are pumping out this foul slander against the Labour Party knowing that it is untrue.”
He added that he had applied to the Labour Party general secretary to have his expulsion from the Labour Party in 2003 for bringing the party into disrepute be rescinded.
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