George Galloway wants to be readmitted to Labour. He was interviewed on Sky News this morning (20 February). He referred to the 8 MPs who recently left Labour as a “Black Op”. He said he doesn’t believe that Luciana Berger MP left Labour because of antisemitism: “Corbyn is not antisemitic. Not a fibre not an atom not a molecule of his mind or body could be so described. That is the Goebellian Lie”.
The deliberate reference to Goebbels is Jewbaiting. It is profoundly offensive in the context of a Jewish MP as is the implicit claim that Galloway knows more about antisemitism than a Jewish victim of it.
He then said “Joan Ryan was caught on camera by Al Jazeera discussing getting £1million from Mr Netanyahu’s embassy in London to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and to undermine the Labour Party and its leadership …. Caught on camera as an agent of the Israeli Embassy in London, she was bringing £1 million to…. what? … Labour MPs?”
The presenter Niall Paterson clearly thought Galloway was suggesting some kind of bribe to Labour MPs. He responded “The video was not about £1 million of bribery to Labour MPs”.
Galloway continued: “If Jeremy Corbyn was caught with the Russian Ambassador getting £1 million from Labour MPs to go to Russia, you think you might have shown that footage?”
The reference is to this programme. (Modesty forfends, but I did the most comprehensive fisk of it at the time).
1. There was no suggestion in the programme that Joan Ryan MP received any money personally, either for herself or to facilitate trips to Israel for MPs.
2. There was no corroboration of the statement in the progamme by Shai Masot (the intern at the Israel Embassy who was promptly sacked (wrongly in my view) by a new Ambassador who had been in post only for days) that there was a £1 million fund to facilitate trips for MPs.
3. The analogy with Corbyn receiving £1 million is obviously inappropriate because Ryan never received any money from Israel.
4. Labour Friends of Israel- which Joan Ryan chairs – receives no funding from Israel.
Postscript This blog has been reposted on UK Media Watch with the clip of Galloway’s interview.