While all eyes were on Chequers, a TIG MP travelled 3,000 miles to smear Jeremy Corbyn

Joan Ryan speaking at the AIPAC conference
Support us and go ad-free

While the Brexit chaos continued at Chequers on 24 March, an Independent Group (TIG) MP travelled over 3,000 miles to smear Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) chair Joan Ryan spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2019 conference in Washington, DC. During her contribution, she repeated a weak and debunked smear about the Labour leader to the 18,000-strong audience. She was also very candid about the issue she has with Labour’s current direction.

Speaking to the choir

AIPAC is a powerful pro-Israel lobby group in the US. This year, a number of progressive politicians decided not to attend its conference. Bernie Sanders’ policy director Josh Orton said he wouldn’t attend because it platforms “leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution”.

Ryan, however, said she was “proud” to attend as a “Zionist” who’s a “staunch supporter of the world’s only Jewish state”. But the MP tried to paint a dire picture of the party she’s just left to the adoring crowd. She said:

Over the past four years, Britain’s Labour Party… has been transformed.

Labour, Ryan asserted, has been “taken over by the far left” and is “riddled with antisemitism”. She claimed it’s no longer a “close friend of Israel”, but “now seeks to demonise and delegitimise” the state. Ryan also claimed the party is now led by someone who:

proudly declares Hamas and Hezbollah to be his friends.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
A tabloid smear

Corbyn has tackled and debunked this smear against him on a number of occasions. As Corbyn has explained, he used the word ‘friends’ to describe Hamas and Hezbollah during a meeting in parliament. This was “inclusive language“, chosen to encourage dialogue about the peace process.

In a fiery 2015 interview on Channel 4 News, Corbyn also said the media’s obsession with the word “friends” was an attempt to “trivialise” the issue of how peace can be achieved in the Middle East. He accused Krishnan Guru-Murthy of doing “tabloid journalism”.

In short, this supposed mark against Corbyn’s name is a non-starter; because it’s a non-story. But that didn’t stop Ryan spreading it at the AIPAC conference.

Unsurprisingly, the MP didn’t contextualise the Labour leader’s use of the word ‘friends’ either. She didn’t explain that he used it out of a desire to advance the peace process in the Middle East. In fact, she didn’t mention the peace process at all.

No, all Ryan did at the conference (aside from repeating a baseless smear against Corbyn) was effectively affirm her dedication to the status quo on the Palestine/Israel conflict. She blurred the lines between antisemitism and opposition to Israel’s actions by speaking about them in the same breath. And she attacked her former party.

Maintaining conflict

Antisemitism is wrong. Israel’s occupation of Palestine is wrong. A legitimate peace process is vital to securing Palestine and Israel’s security. Corbyn is right: all relevant parties need to be involved in bringing peace to the region. All these things can be true at the same time. Indeed, acknowledging that they are all true is necessary in moving towards peace for both Jews and Arabs in the region.

Ryan, however, is clearly not a politician willing to address that at all. Labour is better off without her.

Featured image via AIPAC

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us