An app operated as part of an Israeli government propaganda campaign issued a “mission” for social media users to make comments against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism.
This is the latest evidence of an Israeli campaign of psychological warfare against the UK’s main opposition party.
The Act.IL app on Sunday falsely accused Corbyn of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany in a 2010 meeting which had been resurfaced by The Times last week.
The “mission” was documented in this Tweet by Michael Bueckert, a Canadian researcher who has been monitoring the app since last year.
The reality is very different from the app’s claims.
As my colleague Adri Nieuwhof explains, Corbyn hosted a meeting titled “Never Again – For Anyone” with Hajo Meyer, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and an anti-Zionist who spoke out strongly for Palestinian rights.
Meyer passed away in 2014.
The Act.IL app asks users to comment on Facebook in response to a Huffington Post UK story about Corbyn’s alleged “anti-Israel remarks,” which it claims are “often a way to hide anti-Semitism.”
The “mission” directs users to click “like” on a comment by Facebook user “Nancy Saada,” and write their own comments echoing her criticisms of Labour.
“Nancy” has posted elsewhere on her Facebook profile a photo of herself in an Israeli army uniform posing on an armored vehicle draped with an Israeli flag.
As The Electronic Intifada reported earlier this year, the Act.IL app is a product of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry.
That ministry directs Israel’s covert efforts to sabotage the Palestine solidarity movement around the world.
Its top civil servant is a former army intelligence officer and the ministry is staffed by veterans of various spy agencies whose names are classified.
The Act.IL “mission” is another piece of evidence of the Israeli campaign of psychological warfare against Labour.
It is part of a long-running influence operation by Israel and its lobby groups to smear Corbyn, a veteran Palestine solidarity activist, and to label the party he leads “institutionally anti-Semitic.”
The operation also aims to push Labour, where there is strong support for Palestinian rights among the grassroots, in a more pro-Israel direction.
A covert element of the effort revealed last year by the undercover Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby involved attempts by the Israeli embassy to set up a grassroots pro-Israel organization for Labour youth.
The campaign has found support among the declining Labour right, including many of the party’s lawmakers, some of them involved with pro-Israel groups.
The Jewish Labour Movement, an anti-Palestinian group deeply linked to the Israeli government, has been at the forefront of the effort.
The group is run by Ella Rose, a former Israeli embassy officer.
Rose has privately admitted that as JLM director, she maintained close links to Shai Masot, the Israeli embassy spy forced to leave the country last year after the Al Jazeera investigation exposed him plotting to “take down” a senior UK government minister.
Masot was also spearheading the effort to manufacture a grassroots pro-Israel organization within the party, a tactic known as astroturfing.
Adam Langleben, the Jewish Labour Movement’s campaigns officer, issued his group’s latest demands on Corbyn on Monday.
These included that Labour adopt “unamended” the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which would define it as anti-Semitic to accurately describe the Israeli state as a “racist endeavor.”
The Israel lobby group is also demanding that Labour drop Chris Williamson – a leading leftist – as a lawmaker.
Instead of shutting down these claims as the bad faith attacks that they clearly are, Corbyn has continued a strategy of concession after concession that has only fueled the attacks.
He has rolled back his position on important matters of principle, like BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
In a Guardian opinion piece on Friday, Corbyn offered “dialogue with community organizations, including the Jewish Labour Movement” to discuss their demand that the IHRA document be adopted in full, even as he acknowledged that some of its provisions have “been used by those wanting to restrict criticism of Israel that is not anti-Semitic.”
It is unclear what Corbyn hopes to achieve in “dialogue” with a group that has close ties to a hostile foreign power committed to manipulating his party from within.
Not surprisingly, the JLM immediately dismissed Corbyn’s opinion piece as “another article bemoaning a situation.”
In his list of demands, the JLM’s Langleben admits that any concession Corbyn makes will not be enough.
“These measures would have been welcomed, and maybe even celebrated, two years ago,” he writes of his demands.
But now Langleben claims that matters have “reached the point of no return.”
“Decisive and significant actions, not words, are the only thing that can bring us back from the brink,” Langleben states.
He doesn’t say who must take this action, or what the action is.
This is certainly open to the interpretation that the Jewish Labour Movement expects the party to take the action of ousting its leader.
As for that “brink,” I warned in a widely shared Twitter thread last month that the Labour right and the Israel lobby may be planning a damaging split from the party.
Since I made that prediction, there are more signs that this could be coming to pass.
The most common response to my prediction on social media was to welcome their departure.
But be warned: Mainstream media which have fueled sensational and often baseless smears will falsely portray any combined exit of right-wing lawmakers and anti-Palestinian activists as an “exodus of Jews” from the Labour Party. And yes, columnists supporting them will probably even use the same hackneyed biblical allusion.