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Sarah Whitson responded to the claim that an app run by the Israeli government actively encouraged users to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Human Rights Watch's Sarah Whitson, left, appeared to suggest the State of Israel encouraged social media users to undermine Jeremy Corbyn
Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Whitson, left, appeared to suggest the State of Israel encouraged social media users to undermine Jeremy Corbyn (Photo: Twitter, @sarahleah1, Getty Images)

A senior Human Rights Watch (HRW) official has come under fire for suggesting that the Israel is interfering in British politics to undermine the Labour Party.

Sarah Whitson, the executive director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division, tweeted to ask why “Israel interference” was “acceptable in UK politics”.

She asked: “Is it only a problem when Russia does this?”

 

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

Why is this interference in domestic UK politics acceptable? Is it only a problem when Russia does this?

Asa Winstanley

@AsaWinstanley

We’re on the cusp of a major new wave of manufactured “Labour antisemitism crisis” stories, much like spring/summer 2018.

Buckle up: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israel-running-campaign-against-jeremy-corbyn 

 

She was sharing a August 2018 post that claimed the Israeli government operated an app which urged people to condemn Jeremy Corbyn for antisemitism.

The app, called Act.IL, asked users to comment under a Facebook post condemning anti-Israel sentiment frequently expressed by Labour members since Mr Corbyn’s appointment as leader, which it suggested was designed to “hide deeper antisemitic feelings”.

The Act.IL website says the app was created with the aim of using social media to combat the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement, and the delegitimisation of the State of Israel.

It was a joint venture between the Israeli-American Council and the Israel-based Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), the Jerusalem Post reports.

 

Jamie Susskind

@jamiesusskind

Happy Saturday night. Here an Executive Director of Human Rights Watch with 50,000 regurgitates the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish concerns about Labour anti-Semitism are concocted by Israel.

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

Why is this #israel interference in domestic UK politics acceptable? Is it only a problem when Russia does this? https://twitter.com/AsaWinstanley/status/1093935880161714182 

KateMaltby

@KateMaltby

Seriously, Human Rights Watch? Is this what your senior staff believe about anti-semitism in British politics? @hrw @KenRoth? What exactly are British Jews supposed to feel when one of your Executive Directors claims their complaints about racism constitute ‘Israel interference’?

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

Why is this #israel interference in domestic UK politics acceptable? Is it only a problem when Russia does this? https://twitter.com/AsaWinstanley/status/1093935880161714182 

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, accused Ms Whitson of “sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories”.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner tweeted: “Human Rights Watch has been studiously silent about what one might think was an important human rights issue – antisemitism in the UK. Breaks its silence by promoting this story.”

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