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Labour stands by union boss who claimed Israel ‘created’ antisemitism row

Labour and trades union bosses have stood by Mark Serwotka after he claimed Israel may have “created” the antisemitism row that plagued the occasion.

Mr Serwotka, who leads the Public and Business Companies union (PCS), advised a fringe occasion on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) convention on Tuesday that the Jewish state could have “created a story that does not exist” with a view to distract consideration from “atrocities” he mentioned it has dedicated.

The feedback, revealed by The Impartial, got here after Labour was engulfed in a bitter row over the summer time on its dealing with of allegations of antisemitism in its ranks.

Labour refused to touch upon the remarks or to reply to questions over whether or not they would launch an investigation into Mr Serwotka’s conduct.

The TUC additionally didn’t immediately condemn Mr Serwotka’s feedback and didn’t reply to questions over whether or not he would stay president of the umbrella physique, a place he was elected to this week.

Requested about his remarks, a spokesperson mentioned: “The TUC opposes antisemitism and discrimination of all types, as do our member unions. All TUC unions have a dedication to tackling racism and selling equality of their guidelines.

“If anybody experiences antisemitism or any type of discrimination within the union motion, they need to be assured that they will elevate it with their union, and their union will take their considerations severely.”

The row centres on remarks made by Mr Serwotka at a Palestine Solidarity Marketing campaign occasion, the place mentioned he “deplored” antisemitism however claimed accusations in opposition to Jeremy Corbyn had been the results of “one thing sinister occurring”.

He mentioned: “I believe it’s unlucky that the Labour Party allowed quite a lot of this to pull on in a means that truly didn’t assist anyone.

“In a yr when Donald Trump has moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a yr when dozens of Palestinians together with kids had been gunned down – unarmed harmless civilians – by the Israeli army, in a yr when the People are chopping off support … isn’t it a vile world when, as a substitute of being on the entrance foot, denouncing these atrocities, demanding an impartial and sovereign state for the Palestinian individuals, we now have had a summer time of asking ourselves whether or not main Labour motion persons are in any means antisemitic?”

He added: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, however I’ll let you know what – top-of-the-line types of making an attempt to cover from the atrocities that you’re committing is to go on the offensive and truly create a narrative that doesn’t exist for individuals on this platform, the commerce union motion or, I’ve to say, for the chief of the Labour Get together.”

Euan Philipps, a spokesperson for Labour In opposition to Antisemitism, mentioned the speech was “a stark illustration of how deeply embedded antisemitism is inside the Labour motion” and known as for Mr Serwotka to resign as PCS basic secretary.

Nevertheless the union has stood by him, with a spokesperson saying: “Mark spoke at a Palestine Solidarity Marketing campaign fringe occasion on the TUC – an organisation PCS is affiliated to.

“He made the purpose in the beginning of the assembly that we have to oppose antisemitism in society and inside the labour motion.

“However we must always not enable the problem of antisemitism for use by people who find themselves making an attempt to silence Palestinian voices as they legitimately wrestle for his or her rights and a sovereign state.”

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