A British journalist is facing censorship for criticising Apartheid Israel

Asa Winstanley
Fréa Lockley

The Labour Party has revoked a leading pro-Palestinian journalist’s press pass for this year’s conference. Asa Winstanley is a powerful and longstanding critic of the Israeli state’s actions in occupied Palestine.

An “anti-democratic decision

Winstanley has been “a powerful voice speaking up for Palestinian rights” since 2004 and also “worked in the occupied West Bank until 2007”. He’s now associate editor for “the award-winning Palestinian news site” the Electronic Intifada. As such, his work offers a powerful critique of the apartheid Israeli state.

In July, Labour Press approved Winstanley’s application to cover its annual conference in September. Yet he then received a further email stating: “Your application has not been approved”. Winstanley told The Canary:

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It’s a sad state of affairs that somebody in the Labour bureaucracy has made the anti-democratic decision to ban me reporting from inside Labour conference. They have not even given a reason for their decision, or had the honesty to admit that this was a revocation of my press pass, and not a failed application. The initial email from Labour Conference Services makes clear that I passed all police checks and vetting by the team.

Electronic Intifada stated:

This amounts to a revocation of an approved press pass without cause, and an undemocratic attack on media freedom…

[It] appears to be part of an ongoing effort by factions within the party’s bureaucracy to silence critics of how it has handled largely bogus accusations of anti-Semitism targeting the left, supporters of Palestinian rights and prominent Black and Jewish members.

“A political decision”

Winstanley also told The Canary that “somebody in Labour” has “made a political decision” to revoke his pass. He continued:

This came days after a report by the government funded CST that The Electronic Intifada is ‘the single most popular website’ for reporting on the Labour anti-Semitism witch hunt against supporters of Palestinian rights.

The Community Security Trust (CST) is a charity, initially set up to protect “British Jews from antisemitism and related threats”. On 4 August, it published a report called Engine of Hate: the online networks behind the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis. This report stated:

the single most popular website for article shares about the subject of antisemitism, the Labour Party and Israel/Palestine was Electronic Intifada, a radical anti-Zionist website which has consistently promoted the idea that allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party are false, and are part of a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn that is orchestrated by the Israeli government.

It also noted that Electronic Intifada “generated nearly four times the online engagement than the Guardian did” in reporting on this issue.

“Smear, attack, defame and censor”

The ongoing row over antisemitism in the Labour Party has led to increased criticism and smears against many pro-Palestinian activists who also support Jeremy Corbyn. And as Winstanley said of this latest situation:

I have reported on Labour conference every year since 2015, and from inside the conference itself in 2016 and 2018. The Israel lobby groups who oppose our reporting never factually refute it, they just smear, attack, defame and censor.

The establishment media is adding to this pattern. In June, an edition of Panorama caused many complaints about accuracy and imbalanced reporting. The CST report followed not long afterwards, and as The Canary reported, the Guardian, for example, didn’t challenge any of its accusations. Many of these were also against Jewish people. In 2011, Winstanley uncovered evidence that suggested:

the CST works behind the scenes with an assertively pro-Israel agenda not stated in its charitable remit. There are also serious questions over the CST’s links to the government of Israel and, allegedly, to its intelligence services.

“Undemocratic and dangerous”

A Labour Party press spokesperson told The Canary it’s understood that:

Asa Winstanley is currently suspended from the Labour Party. Like any member who is suspended, when he was suspended he was informed that suspension means that he cannot attend any Party meetings including Annual Conference. Another Electronic Intifada journalist has been accredited.

Ali Abunimah, the Electronic Intifada‘s co-founder and editor, told The Canary that although he also understands Winstanley can’t attend Labour Party meetings, his application for media accreditation was approved in July. He also pointed out that this was four months after Labour started its investigation, so it was fully aware of the situation. Abunimah continued:

Regardless of his status, he’s not attending conference as a Labour member. He remains a professional, accredited journalist and that’s the capacity he applied to attend in. It’s undemocratic and dangerous for nameless officials to interfere with your work as a journalist. Is Labour saying that it has the power to decide whether or not people can do the jobs that they have in good standing?

Abunimah also said:

It was only after the defamatory CCT report that they denied they had approved his pass in the first place. It stated that Electronic Intifada’s reporting has been the most widely circulated and influential. Yet the CST cannot point to any factual errors, and that is because it’s absolutely solid.

Featured image via YouTube – TRT World

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  • Show Comments
    1. The big problem with Labour is that it is still infested with conservative, Blairite, anti-Palestinian vermin, and the last poster is quite right…….where the hell is Corbyn on this issue? Why has the Labour party not dissolved the membership of those fake labour members. Why does Labour still have the War-criminal Tony Blair and his supporters in the Labour party?

      It is high time that those who are anti-Corbyn in the Labour party, who are arguably more conservative-leaning than Labour, who are pushing anti-Semitic claims against Corbyn, and those who are doing immense damage to the Labour party (like Tony Blair) were removed as members, and arrested and sued like the criminals they are, for the lies and falsehoods they have perpetrated, and not be left in membership to do these kind of damaging things that they are doing to genuinely anti-Semitic members, and arguably to our Nation as well.

      1. Corbyn showed his innate anti-semitism when he placed flowers on the graves of the planners of the Munich Olympics massacre.

        You’re just pissed off because Israel always defeats its enemies.

        So is Corbyn.

        Tough.

        Get over yourself.

    2. In addition, isn’t it time to publish the names of the ‘factions’ inside The Labour Party who are deliberately trying to undermine what the majority of Labour members and supporters want? We are constantly being given names of those who are pro-Palestinian, pro-Corbyn like Asa Winstanley in the Media (in a negative way), but few names are being released of those who are against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, and we really need to know who these miscreants are.

      I truly do not understand how these despicable liars and degenerates are being allowed to remain as Labour members. I suspect that it is because like the cowards they truly are, they dare not stand up and be counted, but prefer to stay hidden whilst holding anti-Labour, ant-Palestinian, and anti-Corbyn views, and doing damaging, anti-Democratic things like this to those who are clearly not anti-Semite, not anti-Palestinian, not anti-Democratic, and not anti-Corbyn.

      Those Labour members who support Israeli apartheid, who try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, Asa Winstanley and others, who lie and scheme to put falsehoods above truth, are pro-Facist, pro-Criminal, pro-Authoritarian, pro-Tory, and anti-Democracy, and would rather destroy our Nation with their lies, than put up an honest, debatable alternative (mostly because they are incapable of honest debate, and utterly incapable of admitting they are wrong on anything).

      I have heard it said that we are all entitled to our opinions, but no-one is entitled to their own facts.

      Here is a fact that should hit to the heart of the anti-Semite issue. It is a fact that the Jewish, and Christian God abhors lies (according to each religion’s sacred scriptures), yet here I am having to point out that so far, not one person has given any public credence to their God in this matter, nor has anyone made an issue of it, nor do I think it anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, or anti-Religion to point this fact out. I do accept however, that there are many Jews and Christians who forget that their God’s views on the matter should come before their own.

      I am not trying to start a religious debate here, only pointing out the hypocrisy of those who publicly claim they are this, or that, for political gain, but themselves refuse to be held to even the standards their God requires, preferring instead to do the very things that are against all life, not just our Democracy.

      1. Man, you do love the sound of your own voice.

        Israel is actually the only non-apartheid country in the Middle East.

        A country where all citizens are equal by law.

        Meanwhile, in “Palestine” & all other Arab countries, Jews & LGBTQs are legal.

        Israel is the safest country in the region for Muslims, Christians, &, of course, Jews.

        Not that your sort give a toss.

    3. Fudge Monkeys!!

      In my first post on this subject I made a mistake in the last paragraph;

      where I said – “and not be left in membership to do these kind of damaging things that they are doing to genuinely anti-Semitic members”

      it should read – ‘and not be left in membership to do these kind of damaging things that they are doing to genuinely NON-anti-Semitic members’.

      My apologies

    4. Exactly Shaolin12.
      Who are these nameless people in the Labour party conducting this antisemitic smear campaign for only political purposes. What are their reasons we haven’t heard about ever.
      It has nothing to do with being Jewish as we have read or anything to do with God in anyone’s spiritual sense as pointed out above.
      Good point about honesty, and I wouldn’t worry about your religious perception as it’s far more civilized by having the courage to be in the open.
      An election is coming , and the issue of who is behind this falsehood ought to be for all to see.
      Democracy depends upon the openess just as one is open to God.
      I’d say there is more than just religion here about our human nature/mind.
      Science requires an open mind as well to work, and its very social.

    5. Winstanley was suspended for being a Jew-hater.

      Shame on Labour for doing this.

      Asshole didn’t suddenly become a Jew-hater: he’s been monetarising this for years.

      Labour has known all along, so this suspension is just window dressing.

      He should be allowed to stay a member, & be selected to replace Hodge.

      If Asa has to be persecuted , then Corbyn should have been suspended for his own anti-semitism years ago.

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