A Foreign Spy in Starmer's Office? No Thanks!

A Foreign Spy in Starmer's Office? No Thanks!

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BRIAN DURRANS started this petition to Labour Party Members and Supporters

As a campaigner for Palestinian rights and a Labour Party member, I was alarmed to read a report in The Electronic Intifada (19 January 2021) that the Labour Party “has hired a former Israeli spy to help manage its social media […]” and who would be working in the office of Keir Starmer himself. Details of the new appointee's role in the Israeli army’s military intelligence division from May 2009 to November 2013 are given in the article, including the claim that he was an analyst and later an officer in Unit 8200, which “specializes in spying, hacking and encryption [and] carries out blackmail, mass surveillance and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.”

The following tweets by journalists at Novara Media have given the report wider publicity:

·         “I don't care who broke the story, or how. A man who chose to work for a military unit whose surveillance methods are so inhumane that its own active reservists publicly refused to work for it has no place in the Labour Party, let alone the leader's office” (Rivkah Brown).

·         “I’m sure many Labour members will be nervous sharing this piece, but it’s well researched and clearly of interest that someone in LOTO worked for Israeli intelligence for five years” (Michael Walker).

·         “I'm open to hearing the case why its fine to have someone who worked for five years in military intelligence of a human rights abusing power work alongside the leader of the opposition. However, the idea it's not an important topic of investigation and discussion is laughable” (Michael Walker again).

·         “The idea any U.K. political leader has a former intelligence officer of a foreign power working for them raises hugely important questions. I think most people, Labour voters or Tory, would find this unsettling” (Aaron Bastani).

If this report is confirmed, and given its very serious implications for Labour members and supporters, and for the Party’s reputation, in the UK and abroad, I call on Keir Starmer  

·         to rescind, or persuade the Party’s General Secretary (David Evans) to rescind, this appointment in order to restore members’ confidence that their legitimate use of social media will remain protected against unauthorised breach of privacy; and that members who are Palestinian or who support Palestinian rights can expect Labour to be a safe environment for them as it should be for every other member; and

·         to ensure, or persuade the Party’s General Secretary to ensure, that those responsible for the appointment be forthwith suspended from membership pending an enquiry into their behaviour, whether for undermining a safe environment which all Labour members have a right to expect, or for bringing the Party into disrepute, or both.

Unless the appointment is promptly rescinded and the lessons learned, I fear for my own safety in the Labour Party as a campaigner for Palestinian rights, and for the democratic rights of members. I refuse to be silenced on Palestine nor have I any intention of leaving the Party. Labour members deserve better and have every reason to demand this terrible misjudgement be corrected.  

Please support this urgent call and sign the petition.

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