UK Labour leader sacks senior MP for sharing story linking Floyd killing to Israel

UK media report that Labour leader Keir Starmer has fired a senior party member for retweeting an article in which Israel was accused of complicity in George Floyd’s killing, which had prompted condemnations from leading British Jewish groups.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain’s shadow business secretary, during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, September 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow education secretary, shared a link on Twitter to an interview in the Independent with actress Maxine Peake, calling her “an absolute diamond.”

In the interview, Peake addressed the recent protests in the United States against racism following Floyd’s death in custody after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.

“Systemic racism is a global issue,” Peake said. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

A spokesman for the Israel Police said earlier this month “there is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway.”

Following a series of condemnations from Jewish groups, a spokesperson for Starmer said

“The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. As leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority. Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it,” a spokesperson for Starmer is quoted saying by British media.

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