UK Labour readmits member who was suspended over antisemitism

Mike Sivier charges Sunday Times of libel after he is described as a Holocaust denier.

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February 4, 2018 19:44
2 minute read.
UK Labour readmits member who was suspended over antisemitism

A vote Labour sign is seen near the Gita Bhavan Hindu Temple in Whalley Range, Manchester, Britain April 20, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREW YATES)

 
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A suspended member of the UK’s Labour Party, who was recently offered readmission, has accused the Sunday Times of defamation after it ran an article under the headline, ‘Labour welcomes back banned activists and Holocaust denier.’ Journalist Mike Sivier is the Labour member in question, suspended from the party last year over online posts he wrote perceived to be antisemitic.

The decision to reinstate Sivier and other far-left members was made at the first meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee, after recent elections to its governing body in which candidates backed by the far-left Momentum group gained influence.

The decision was revealed by the Times based on leaked documents from Labour headquarters, and the information was widely cited by British media.

Sivier has said he would not accept Labour’s offer of readmission under the terms they laid out, according to which he was given a warning and required to attend a workshop about antisemitism run by the Jewish Labour Movement.

“It implies guilt for an offense I have not committed,” Sivier wrote on his blog, Vox Political, explaining his refusal to participate in the workshop.

Sivier is the author of The Livingstone Presumption, a book defending former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who has made comments saying that Hitler supported Zionism.


Sivier has been accused of antisemitism following a slew of comments he has made, including a post in which he said “it may be entirely justified” for the former Scottish MP Tam Dalyell to say that Tony Blair had been “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers.”

The Times wrote: “He also said he was ‘not pretending it was a big problem’ if Jews were omitted from a list of Holocaust survivors, and claimed ‘I’m not going to comment’ on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust, as ‘I don’t know.’” Sivier says his words were taken out of context and that he had said “I don’t know” over why the Socialist Workers Party had said that only thousands died in the Holocaust.

The prior comment, “not pretending it was a big problem,” he said had also been re-sequenced and had been said in response to something else in a whole series of antisemitism- related issues he was questioned over, and had nothing to do with the list of Holocaust survivors.

Sivier has demanded an apology from the Times.

He has also accused the NGO, Campaign Against Antisemitism, of a smear campaign against him after it published an article accusing him of numerous forms of antisemitism while he was a Labour Party candidate for Radnorshire and Builth Wells in the elections to Powys County Council, last year.

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