An activist who was scheduled to speak at a UK Labour Party conference later this month has been dropped from the line-up after it emerged that she once called for attacks against Israeli lawmakers, according to a report on Wednesday.
Ewa Jasiewicz, 40, a British-Polish anti-Israel activist, was slated to speak about the future of trade unions at the Momentum festival organized alongside Labour’s annual conference. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who reportedly called her a “good friend,” is also scheduled to speak.
Jasiewicz was later withdrawn from a panel event, the Jewish News report said.
On Tuesday the UK Times newspaper said it had unearthed a report from Jasiewicz, written in 2002 when she was living and working in Jenin in the West Bank at the height of the Second Intifada, in which she suggested that terror groups should attack Israeli MKs instead of civilians.
According to the Times, Jasiewicz wrote that the son of the family she was staying with “went and opened fire on some Israeli civilians in a market somewhere a few months ago,” adding: “I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off like the PFLP?”
She was referring to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist group that has conducted numerous terror attacks against Israel and Israeli citizens since it was formed in 1967, including the assassination of then-tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.
Jasiewicz told The Times the comments were flippant and “in a private email which ended up being published on the PalSolidarity website in 2002 as was the case at times with emailed reports on Israeli occupation activity back then.”
“I do not and never have, advocated the harming of anybody and this was definitely not the intention of the comment in the email. I apologize for any harm or upset this has caused and I ask people to understand it in the context that it was written, both as a flippant comment in a private email and under conditions of a violent occupation,” she said.
The announcement that Jasiewicz was set to speak at the Labour event initially drew outrage after it was revealed that she had in 2010 vandalized a remaining wall of the Warsaw Ghetto, spraying it with “Free Gaza and Palestine” graffiti.
The Community Security Trust, a charity that focuses on security for Britain’s Jews, said of the Warsaw Ghetto graffiti incident that it is “exactly the kind of obsessive anti-Israel hatred and abuse of the Holocaust that is central to Labour’s problem of anti-Semitism. If Momentum have any decency or integrity, they will withdraw their invitation.”
Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, a movement which backs Corbyn and Labour, defended Jasiewicz, telling the Jewish News, “I do not condone what she did but it was several years ago and, as with any actions that cause offense, it should be judged soberly and she should have the opportunity to defend herself.”
“This lynch mob mentality does nothing to assist a proper debate about antisemitism in the Labour Party or elsewhere,” Lansman continued. “If someone makes a complaint to the Labour Party it will be judged fairly.”
However I find it worrying theres claims @momentum will have "an antisemite who vandalised jewish war graves" speak at an event
But she wrote "Free Gaza & Palestine" on the Warsaw Ghetto wall
Can there be a more poignant parallel?
— YES ???????????????????????????? Бот (@YESthatcherDead) September 11, 2018
Euan Philipps, a spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, had also called for Jasiewicz to be removed from the program.
“Jon Lansman and Jeremy Corbyn must personally intervene to ensure that Ms Jasiewicz is removed from the schedule for the Momentum Conference,” he told The Times.
Jasiewicz has a long history of anti-Israel activity and was deported from Israel in 2004, reportedly for aiding terror groups.
The incident is the latest in a long stream of anti-Semitic incidents plaguing the UK opposition party and its virulently anti-Israel leader Corbyn.
The crisis over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party — including its failure to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance‘s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism until last Tuesday — has caused a major schism within its ranks and led Jews to express fears over their future in the country.
Almost 40 percent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Corbyn became prime minister, according to a poll conducted for The Jewish Chronicle published last week.
Corbyn says anti-Semitism has no place in the Labour Party, but he has been roundly criticized over reports of rampant anti-Jewish prejudice, for his own allegedly anti-Semitic statements and activities, and for not backing the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. When the IHRA definition was adopted by his party last week, Corbyn sought in vain to add a caveat asserting that it is not anti-Semitic to call Israel’s existence racist.