The Electronic Intifada / November 5, 2020
“Bye bye @jeremycorbyn,” Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin posted on Twitter, “Justice is done. Proud I was part of this puzzle.”
Nahmias-Verbin is a former member of Israel’s parliament for the Labor Party. She made the claim the day after Corbyn was suspended as a member of UK Labour last week.
She posted it along with a video of herself addressing a 2018 Labour Friends of Israel meeting in the UK.
In her address, she called alleged anti-Semitism in Labour under Corbyn “deeply disturbing” and “shocking.” In a script closely followed by the UK’s pro-Israel lobby, she asked, “what kind of leadership have you shown to root this out?”
She also denounced Corbyn for “arguing” over the Israel-lobby backed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which the British Labour Party was under pressure to adopt.
The definition has been widely denounced as politically motivated and anti-Palestinian, because it conflates criticism of Israel and its political ideology Zionism, on the one hand, with bigotry against Jews, on the other.
The vast majority of the UK’s universities have refused to adopt the definition, despite intense Conservative government pressure.
Despite Nahmias-Verbin’s claims to be concerned about racism in British political parties, she has openly defended far-right Israeli racism.
While she was in the UK attending the 2018 Labour Party conference, she was asked by a radio talk show host if she agreed with the many people who consider her country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to be a racist.
Nahmias-Verbin replied: “I do not believe that he is racist. You can’t really be prime minister of Israel and be racist.”
During Israel’s 2015 election campaign, Netanyahu infamously incited his followers against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.
“The right-wing government is in danger,” Netanyahu exhorted his followers. “Arabs are advancing on the ballot boxes in droves.”
In the same 2018 radio interview, Nahmias-Verbin declared that Corbyn – a lifelong campaigner against racism – “is an anti-Semite himself.”
She asserted that British Jews would feel “unsafe” if Corbyn became prime minister and accused him of sharing “values” with “terrorists” and “inhumane people.”
It was a blunt intervention in British politics by a foreign politician and a direct attack on the leader of the UK’s official opposition.
Israel’s campaign against Corbyn
Nahmias-Verbin’s attacks on Corbyn came amid a concerted effort by the state of Israel to overthrow Corbyn – the potential future prime minister of an important foreign ally.
Israel and its overseas lobby worked tirelessly to operate a campaign against Corbyn.
It succeeded at the end of 2019 with Corbyn’s loss in the UK general election, leading to his resignation as party leader.
Israel lobby groups at the time claimed responsibility for the election loss, with one even claiming to have “slaughtered” Corbyn, “the beast.”
The Israeli Labor party was mobilized to help in the attack.
A few months before Nahmias-Verbin made her verbal assault on Corbyn at the Labour Friends of Israel event, her party leader, the supposed “centerist” Avi Gabbay, declared that he was suspending all relations with the UK Labour leader.
This came days after Corbyn had condemned an Israeli army massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters on the boundary with Gaza as “an outrage.”
Gabbay responded that he was cutting ties over Corbyn’s “hatred of the policies of the government of the state of Israel.”
In line with the years-long smear campaign, Gabbay also accused Corbyn of “hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community” in the UK.
Last week, Isaac Herzog, another former leader of the Israeli Labor party, also welcomed the purging of Corbyn. Herzog called it “an important milestone for the whole world in taking anti-Semitism out of the political game.”
At a 2016 conference held in the Knesset to fight the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, Nahmias-Verbin thanked Israeli minister Gilad Erdan for his efforts to undermine the boycott globally.
“The Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs will bring to Israel delegations from abroad in order to expose the truth about the state of Israel,” Erdan told the same conference. “We must go from defense to offense.”
It appears that dispatching Nahmias-Verbin to the UK was also part of the ministry’s effort against Jeremy Corbyn.
The video of Nahmias-Verbin’s remarks to Erdan shows that she was seated next to Likud activist Yehuda Glick – one of Israel’s most dangerous extremists.
After publication of this article, Nahmias-Verbin responded on Twitter by doubling down on her smears and saying she was “proud” or her role in the downfall of Jeremy Corbyn – although now downplaying it as “tiny.”
She also said she was “proud” of lobby groups Labour Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (the latter group had not initially been mentioned in this article).
David Sheen contributed research.
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada; he lives in London