Kristine L Ming

UK Labour readmits member who was suspended over antisemitism

A suspended member of the UK’s Labour party who was recently readmitted has accused The Sunday Times of defamation after it ran an article on Sunday under the headline ‘Labour welcomes back banned activists and Holocaust denier.’

Journalist Mike Sivier is the Labour member in question; he was suspended from the party last year over online posts of his which were perceived to be antisemitic.

The decision to reinstate Sivier and other hard-left members was taken at the first meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), after recent elections to its governing body in which candidates back by the hard-left pro-Corbyn Momentum group gained influence.

The decision was revealed by the Times based on leaked documents from the Labour headquarters, and widely cited in British media.

Sivier has said he would not accept Labour’s offer of readmission under the terms they laid out, according to which he was given a warning and required to attend a workshop about antisemitism run by the Jewish Labour Movement. “It implies guilt for an offence I have not committed,” Sivier wrote on his blog Vox Political, explaining his refusal to participate in the workshop in a post he wrote to refute the charges made against him in the Times article.

Sivier is the author of The Livingstone Presumption, a book defending former London mayor Ken Livingstone’s claims about Hitler and Zionism.

He has been accused of antisemitism for a slew of comments he has made, including a post in which he said “it may be entirely justified” for former Scottish Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell to say that Tony Blair had been unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers.”

The Sunday Times wrote: “He also said he was ‘not pretending it was a big problem’ if Jews were omitted from a list of Holocaust survivors, and claimed ‘I’m not going to comment’ on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust as ‘I don’t know’.”

Sivier says his words were taken out of context and that he had said “I don’t know” over why the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) had said that only thousands died in the Holocaust. The latter comment, he said, about “not pretending it was a big problem” had been said in response to a whole series of antisemitism related issue he was questioned over, and not about the list of Holocaust survivors.

Sivier has demanded an apology from the Times.

He has also accused NGO the Campaign Against Antisemitism of a smear campaign against him, after it published an article accusing him of numerous forms of antisemitism, as he stood for Labour Party candidate for Radnorshire and Builth Wells in the elections to Powys County Council last year.

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